Children cast a fishing line at Grand Haven State Park

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:57 PM

“It’s fun,” the Grand Rapids boy said as he dropped a line into the Grand Haven channel. “We’ve got to go fishing more often, Dad.”


The Bakelaar family is camping at Grand Haven State Park this week, said the boy’s father, Tim Bakelaar.


They were at the water’s edge as part of the park’s weekly fishing programs for children.


“I don’t fish. I’m here for him,” he said as his son went back for another worm.


Sam Arens grabbed a worm out of a container on the nearby rocks and fastened it onto a hook.


A Grand Haven Area Public Schools teacher, Arens runs the DNR Summer Youth Work Program at the park.


The program provides a positive outlet for children in the school’s Resource program.


“It teaches them some job skills,” he said. “It’s something they can bring to employers in the future.”


Nearby, three of the workers — Peter Knopf and John Reenders of Grand Haven, and Travis D’Oyly of Spring Lake — enjoyed a break to do some fishing.


“We caught a goby,” Knopf said, pointing to the lone fish in the bucket.


D’Oyly showed off pictures he had taken at a more successful fishing event.


Normally they paint, remove sand, pick up litter and clean bathrooms, Arens said.


“This is our fun day — getting to help out with this,” he added.


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