The therapeutic benefits of outdoor activities

Let’s Go Fishing Launches it’s 20th Season

SPICER — Let’s Go Fishing volunteer Glen Lotthammer piloted our pontoon boat within casting distance of a dock in the belief that a fish or two might be lurking in its shade.LetsGoFishing2022

This was last Monday, and Lotthammer and his volunteer deckhands were joined on Green Lake by seven fourth-grade students from the Willmar Public Schools.

With a few deft casts, student Braylon Burwell managed to drop his slip bobber and leech rig right at the dock’s edge and BAM, down went the bobber.

Burwell soon pulled in a hefty, largemouth bass, gave it a kiss and came home with all of the bragging rights. He caught the biggest, and only, fish in our afternoon excursion with Let’s Go Fishing.

But every one of Burwell’s classmates on that pontoon reached shore wearing smiles as big as the one he had flashed when volunteer Dennis Forcier helped net the big bass.

Lotthammer and Forcier were among the many volunteers who hosted fourth-grade students from the Kennedy and Roosevelt Elementary Schools on outings on Green Lake in Spicer to start the 2022 season for the Willmar chapter of Let’s Go Fishing this past week. Four pontoons were kept busy. If all went as planned, some 220 students will have participated in the outings offered Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

It marked the start of the 20th season for the Willmar chapter, the first and founding chapter for the non-profit organization that now includes 17 chapters across the state and into Wisconsin.

“This has become really huge, every year,” said Rick Reimer of Let’s Go Fishing’s tradition of starting its season by hosting elementary students. Reimer serves as the chapter’s president.

Read the full article here at the West Central Tribune…

Eden Prairie and Beyond Reel in Memories

Three generations of Bill Block made fishing memories together.From his wheelchair, Bill Block felt a tug on his fishing rod just below the surface of misty Lake Riley in Eden Prairie. Along with his bright yellow life jacket, Block brought on board another life-saving element — his oxygen tank — as he battled the fish thrashing left and right.

Then Block, a U.S. Navy veteran, broke into a knowing smile as he reeled in his ferocious opponent: a sunfish no bigger than his hand.

Block was 80 at the time and residing in an assisted living facility in Burnsville when he made that memorable trip in 2017. His sponsor was the Eden Prairie chapter of Let’s Go Fishing (LGF), a volunteer-run nonprofit with 17 affiliates across Minnesota and Wisconsin. The organization provides free fishing trips to seniors, hospice patients, youth and families.

Last year, the chapter provided 320 trips to more than 4,100 people.

“Can you imagine being in an assisted living facility and [having] the chance to go fishing?” said Block’s son, also named Bill Block. The elder Block’s grandson also made the Lake Riley expedition, the fifth in the line of Bill Blocks.

“Get outside in the water and the sun and the pontoon boat and it’s all set up for someone in a wheelchair. That was key,” said his son.

Having grown up fishing on lakes in McLeod and Kandiyohi counties, Block seized the opportunity to relive the joy of his youth with his family alongside him. Like so many seniors whom LGF serves, Block continued to regale facility staff with tales of the trip until he died in 2020.

Read the full article here at the Star Tribune

Let’s Go Fishing Says ‘Thank You’ to United States Veterans

“Thank you for your service.”

A lot of us say it. To the camouflaged young soldier we pass in the airport, or maybe the older gentleman in the black World War II service cap you see when you visit your grandmother in the nursing home. And we mean it. We might even buy their coffee or offer to let them go to the front of the line at the grocery store.

After all, they have risked or are currently risking life and limb to keep us and countless others around the world free and safe.

Let's Go Fishing - Mercury Marine

But there are a few who go well beyond a cup of coffee or a kind word to honor our United States veterans. The volunteers who give their time and energy to the Let’s Go Fishing (LGF) organization are among those who go the extra mile to honor our veterans, as well as serve the elderly and handicapped in their communities.  Full story at Mercury Mercury Dockline Blog…

Seniors Enjoy Mix of Elements on Wall Lake

Blue skies and sunshine made it a perfect day to be on the water.

With the assistance of Let’s Go Fishing, four senior citizens from Fergus Falls went boating Wednesday afternoon on Wall Lake.  They toured the shoreline of the entire lake before returning.

Three volunteer members and two Let’s Go Fishing volunteers — Arlin Schalekamp and Will Lindquist – set off on the cruise from a dock at Elk’s Point. The point is located on the eastern shore of the 726.67 acre lake, located three miles East of the city.

Dan Karst, who has acted as president of the Otter Tail County chapter of Let’s Go Fishing for the last 12 years, watched the group as their foray around Wall Lake began at 1pm. Sitting on the deck of a big Crestliner pontoon pushed by a Mercury outboard, the seniors and their aides, all in lifejackets, basking under a warm June sun.

Read the full story on The Daily Journal…

 

Let’s Go Fishing – Bemidji has served more than 5,000

Let’s Go Fishing Bemidji was formed in 2005. Thanks to donations and grants we are able to offer this program in the Bemidji area. Since our inception, we have purchased and worn out our first pontoon and then purchased a second one.

This program offers seniors, handicapped, veterans and youth the opportunity to get back out on the water to fish or just enjoy a boat ride at no charge. Fishing trips and cruises are scheduled five days per week June through August, providing all equipment needed on our handicapped-accessible 26-foot pontoon. Most trips last 2-3 hours. All this is at no charge to the participant. Since inception, we have taken out over 5,000 people on the pontoon.

The mission of Let’s Go Fishing is to serve older adults, youth, veterans and disabled. Whether they are part of a housing community or still living in their residences, older adults benefit greatly from joining with others and taking a trip on the Let’s Go Fishing pontoon. We have had families taking out senior family members. Seniors doing what they remember doing and thought they would never be able to do it again. We have had individuals with serious health issues who find a reason to smile for the first time in months. Read the full story at Bemidji Pioneer…

Let’s Go Fishing Serves More Than 10,000

Let’s Go Fishing- Itasca was formed in the fall of 2007. Thanks to donations and grants, the organization we were able to raise monies to purchase the first pontoon in the spring of 2008 and began to offer this program to our seniors, handicapped, veterans and youth at no charge. They schedule fishing trips and cruises 5-6 days per week in the morning, afternoon and evenings providing all equipment needed June through September on our handicapped accessible 25-foot pontoon. The month of May schedules are reserved for youth groups. All this at no charge to the participant.

The mission of Let’s Go Fishing Itasca is to continue to serve older adults, youth, veterans and disabled throughout Itasca County. Let’s Go Fishing has always had its core the desire to serve older adults in our community. Whether they are part of a housing community or individuals still living in their residences, older adults benefit greatly from joining with others and taking a morning or afternoon trip on the Let’s Go Fishing pontoon. We have had families taking out senior family members. A granddaughter who wanted to take grandpa fishing. Seniors doing what they remember doing and thought they would never be able to do it again. Read more at Herald Review….

Outdoor Elderly Activities

As written by Elder OneStop — People ask about the outdoors when we have nice weather, and no matter what season. Whether playing outdoor games, gardening, trying metal detecting, or visiting a park, there is always an activity to do outdoors, for almost anyone. Some ideas here are group outdoor activities, but some can be done solo as well.And many senior activities that were done inside during challenging weather can now simply be brought outside, such as clubs and crafts. You can get kids involved in several of these activities as well.

Boat rides – The water makes a great backdrop for outdoor elderly activities. Do you, or does anyone in your church or organization have a pontoon boat? If they are willing to assist for an afternoon, this is the manner of boating for seniors. Pontoons can also be rented. With a proper plank, even those in wheelchairs can access this type of boat. It would ideally have a covering. But there are also mini yachts and a variety of motor boats too.

Just about anything can be rented. Including a river boat excursion. Boats rides are wonderful outdoor elderly activities. All participants should also wear sunglasses and sunscreen, appropriate attire, and perhaps bring a water bottle. Snacks and beverages can be included. Depending on the size of the boat, other activities can be included, as well as…

Fishing – So many seniors enjoy and perhaps are skilled at fishing. And they love to share their fishing tips (and stories). Whether on a pier or pontoon, fishing boat, or from shore, this is a relaxing way to get outdoors and socialize. Bring along some food and drink. And make sure there is someone who knows how to handle the gear, hooks, and fish! And what about a fish fry afterwards? Bring your picnic gear too! Or get all the details, crafts, decor, activities for one of our most popular parties — a Gone Fishing party! (You can have it indoors too, in cold or gloomy weather).

We have lots more things to do outdoors on our pages for Spring Senior Activities, and also Summer Senior Activities — with special events and specific calendar dates too.

Read the full article at… ElderOneStop.com

 

Everyday Access to Nature Improves Quality of Life in Older Adults

Natural environments are known to promote physical, mental, and spiritual healing. People can attain health benefits by spending time outside, often in remote places to “get away from it all.” Now research conducted by a University of Minnesota graduate student with a team in Vancouver, B.C., shows that green and “blue” spaces (environments with running or still water) are especially beneficial for healthy aging in seniors.

Published in the journal Health and Place, the study – Therapeutic landscapes and wellbeing in later life: Impacts of blue and green spaces for older adults – demonstrates that by incorporating smaller features, such as a koi pond or a bench with a view of flowers, public health and urban development strategies can optimize nature as a health resource for older adults. Throughout the research, green and blue spaces promoted feelings of renewal, restoration, and spiritual connectedness. They also provided places for multi-generational social interactions and engagement, including planned activities with friends and families, and impromptu gatherings with neighbors.

“We zoomed in to everyday life for seniors between the ages of 65 and 86. We discovered how a relatively mundane experience, such as hearing the sound of water or a bee buzzing among flowers, can have a tremendous impact on overall health,” says Jessica Finlay, a former research assistant on the project and lead author of the paper. Finlay is now a doctoral candidate in geography and gerontology at the University of Minnesota, where she continues to investigate influences of the built environment on health and well-being in later life. “Accessibility to everyday green and blue spaces encourages seniors to simply get out the door. This in turn motivates them to be active physically, spiritually and socially, which can offset chronic illness, disability and isolation.”

Read the full article at… University of Minnesota