2015 Childrens’ Sunshine Program by John Meagher/Sherry Bright
This year the CSP had some changes such as; the Head boat Sally-T moved from the Port of Hampton to Vining’s Landing Marina in Norfolk, we also used the Headboat Judith Ann from the Ocean View Fishing Pier. The Sally-T is rated for 40 people max whereas; the Judith Ann is Coast Guard approved for 100 people. We also had groups from Portsmouth Parks and Recreation and we picked up children for the first time at the docks located at the foot of High Street in Portsmouth. Other new groups were the Boy Scout Group #210 from Portsmouth and Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, Norfolk.
Before I go any further let me introduce the main players to this program; first and foremost, is lifetime (1989) member Denny P. Dobbins who is not only the director of the CSP, but is also the President of the Portsmouth Angler’s Club (PAC) serving his second year. Denny was instrumental in 1994 taking the Angler Newsletter from a one page to a minimum four page newsletter. He and I , with approval of the PAC Board solicited advertisers to pay the monthly fee involving the publishing of the newsletter. We held this position along with Tom Scott and his wife, in mailing out this newsletter to over 190 subscribers every month.
The Children’s Sunshine Program started in 1985 with one yearly pier event in cooperation with the Portsmouth Salvation Army. In 2005, Denny solicited funding from the Virginia Salt Water Recreational Fishing Development Fund through Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC) and with this funding he was able to increase the one-time event to five events per year, which included four Head boat trips. In 2015, he added another Headboat trip for a total of six events. Three years ago the pier event was moved from the Lynnhaven Fishing Pier to the Ocean View Fishing Pier. The number of participants has increased exponentially to well over 300 per year.
If you would like to help Denny in the many facets of the 2016 CSP program; feel free to give him a call at 477-9156. Help is need especially in secretarial duties and volunteers for all the events. There is always something that someone can do. If you can’t volunteer, but wish to make a contribution in the form of money, ice, water, Huggs (fruit juice), food, fishing tackle, bait and I could go on and on please contact him.
Although there are many volunteers and have been throughout the years, there has been one constant volunteer and that is lifetime (1985) member 85 year old Tom Scott. Tom has been past President of PAC; in charge of circulation of the Angler prior to it becoming an email publication, a Chairman of the Benevolence Program, Raffle Chairman, Fish Fry Cook and Bottle Washer, Monthly Raffle Chairman and probably many others that I’m leaving out. This year, he was recognized at the Catchin’ for Kids Program as an outstanding ten plus year volunteer. Tom is always the first to volunteer and support any of our PAC programs and any other programs especially those involving children.
Steve York is a member of the VMRC Marine Police. He has been a member of our club since 1992. Although his duties keep him from volunteering for all of our events; the ones that he does make, he contributes so much to the program you have to see him in action to appreciate what he does. This shark he is holding he went stern to bow port to starboard making sure that every child and adult got to see what it looked and felt like. IF THEY WANTED TO TOUCH IT! When our High Street event was late in getting started; Steve took it upon himself to introduce himself to the eighty plus kids and gave a lecture on what to expect for the day. He also made a point of going to the bus as the kids were leaving to thank them for their participation. He is without a doubt an asset not only to his position as a police officer, but also as a member of our club.
As the author of this article I’m unable to provide you with a picture of myself on any of these events although Denny, Tom and I took part in all of the 2015 events. Part of my responsibilities includes taking pictures, scheduling, and doing all the necessary paperwork per event. I not only took pictures with my camera, but others gave me their cameras to take a picture of them not thinking to take a picture of myself with the children fishing. I’m a lifetime (1990) member and proudly known as a person who loves to raise money for the CSP program and PAC.
If you would like to participate in any of the 2016 events, (especially the Pier Event scheduled for July 28th, 2016 at the Ocean View Fishing Pier) Denny has a tentative schedule and any help would be welcome whether your taking pictures, filling out the personalized fishing books, going on the Headboat trips, filling up the creel bags or telephoning or contacting via email the many, many organizations that participate in the Portsmouth Angler’s Club Childrens’ Sunshine Program please contact him or if you are unable to contact Denny at 477-9156 please contact me my number is 399-4673 and leave a message and I will return your call as soon as I can.