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By, Pam Teel

Just recently, sixty-four special needs youngsters and their families enjoyed perfect weather fishing the Second Annual “Kids Wish’n to go Fish’n” (KWTGF) Fun Day located at Lake Julianna on the Ponderosa Estate Farm, Millstone Township, New Jersey.
The children arrived at Lake Julianna and when they registered they received fishing instructions, tee shirts, patriotic dog tags, goodie bags, fishing caps, prizes, along with rod and reels. Mike and Debbie Bennett, Bear Education and Rescue, made sure the children had plenty of bait and provided loaner rods and reels from their New Jersey “Hooked on Fishing- not on Drugs” equipment trailer.
The focus during the fishing portion of the event was not on catching the biggest fish because all the fishes caught were released back into the lake. Volunteer anglers from various organizations assisted children and their families with baiting hooks, releasing hooked fish, and setting up tackle.
Bob Hopkins, who volunteered with other club members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 12 stated; “The smiles from the children, parents and caregivers were amazing. Everyone was having fun.”
Every child was able to catch a fish. The youngsters who had the experience of catching their first fish received a “First Fish Award” certificate.
After fishing, everyone gathered around the BBQ picnic area for delicious pizza and food that was prepared by Mr. Cardinale and his team. The children enjoyed hayrides, fly-casting, the firemen who brought along one of the Millstone Fire Trucks and mingling with the therapy animals from Golden Gate Farms.
Quote from: Shafia House Legacy Treatment Services, Hainesport, NJ, “My name is Nzinga Diop. I am a direct care counselor at Legacy Treatment services. The children in my home enjoyed the fishing event that you hosted on Saturday, September 29, 2018. They wanted to thank you for such an awesome event, included is a thank you card from all of the children. Thank you for hosting this amazing event, looking forward to other events.”
The event could not have been possible without the support of Mr. Cardinale and his team of caring volunteers. Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Jersey Shore Chapter, Newark Bait Fly Casters, New Jersey Beach Buggy Association, Hudson River Fisherman’s Association, Jersey Shore Surfcasters, Trout Unlimited, BEAR Environmental Educators, and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 12 members all provided volunteer assistance for the event.
Thank you to the following sponsors and businesses: Magnakron, Tom Zapcic Photography, Jersey Coast Anglers Association, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 12, Boating Education and Rescue. Merchants – Dairy Queen, Dan Black Welding, East Gate Nursery, Bill Jim Construction, Laurita Winery, Teddy Bears By the Seashore, Golden Gate Farm, Manasquan River Marlin and Tuna Club Capt. Butch Cross, Phinas Farms, Dan The Tin Man, Jersey Shore Surfcasters, The Fisherman Magazine, Dunkin Donuts, Reel Seat B&T, Gabrile’s Bait Co., Spring Lake Freezer, Bagel Bistro, Jersey Hooker Outfitters, Frogbridge Day Camp, Black Bear Day Camp, Bimbo Bakery, and local contributors.
Thank you to the amazing angling volunteers that assisted with set up and making sure everyone was safe by the water. Since 2016, Veterans, many of them disabled, have been invited guests by Mr. Vito Cardinale, owner of Ponderosa Estates Farm, to enjoy the peace and serenity of Lake Julianna. Mr. Vito Cardinale, President Cardinale Enterprises LLC., and Don Marantz, Jersey Coast Anglers Association’s, Youth Education Committee KWTGF Chairman, are planning a Volunteer Appreciation Day for all the volunteers that made the event a success.