Springfield Mo. – January, 6, 2020 – The very popular Lew’s High School Grant Program will once again be taking applications for the 2020 grant season starting on Monday January 13th. For the fourth year …
Hall of Fame Angler and Classic champion David Fritts highlights this year’s list of fishing trips Ponca City, Okla., (11/18/19) The Future Fisherman Foundation (501C3 Foundation) will host its 10th annual on-line eBay auction starting …
Lew’s/Strike King is Proud to Offer Freshman Scholarships
Lexington, S.C. (May 6th, 2018) – Supporting youth and the
future of our sport has been at the core of our brands since their inception.
This effort has been supported in many fashions throughout our history. The most
notable is the highly-successful Mach High School Program, which has enabled
Lew’s to support many high school bass clubs across the country. In addition, Strike
King is, and has always been, a proud sponsor of numerous high school and
college fishing teams and events. To ensure
the future success of this mission, the Lew’s/Strike King brands have even
developed a fully functional Grass Roots Activation Team that heads up our nationwide
efforts to support and equip youth anglers.
These efforts have helped us lay the groundwork for our
most exciting development to date. To further
support our youth anglers and thank them for carrying the love and passion for
fishing forward, we are excited to announce the Lew’s & Strike King Freshman
“Our new Freshman Scholarship Program is yet another way
for our brands to give back to the sport we love. We recognize the important role
that fishing has played in our lives and we feel an obligation to ensure that it
gets passed on to our youth,” explains Ken Eubanks, CEO of Lew’s Holding
Company. “We’ve set up a fund that will award five deserving high school anglers
a scholarship towards their freshman year of college. We are very excited to
see the support and success of our brands translate into tangible support and success
of youth fishing” Eubanks concludes.
The Freshman Scholarship Program will be awarded to five deserving
high school anglers who must complete an application that will be available on both
the Lew’s and Strike King websites. We are proudly partnering with the Future
Fisherman Foundation in the screening and processing of all applications. More
information and the actual application can be found on our websites www.lews.com
ABOUT Strike King
is a Collierville, TN based supplier of fishing tackle and sunglasses. The
Company supplies hard baits, wire baits, soft plastics and related accessories
through the mass market, sporting goods, and specialty outdoor channels. For
further information about Strike King, please visit www.strikeking.com.
Lew’s Fishing is a Springfield, MO based supplier of fishing equipment
and tackle. The Company supplies branded fishing reels, rods, and related
accessories through the mass market, sporting goods, and specialty outdoor
channels. For further information about Lew’s, please visit www.lews.com.
Three years ago, Justin Hevey was on the fast track to nowhere.
He had just completed what he
referred to as a “pretty dismal freshman year” and he was about to enter his
sophomore class at Okeechobee High School not far from the shores of the
legendary Lake Okeechobee in Florida. Fortunately for Justin, the winds of change
and a little well-timed fate intervened when a local law enforcement officer
and a few like minded parents decided to start a fishing team at the school.
For Justin, it was a turning point in his young life. His
ability to join the Okeechobee High School fishing team that year was truly the
difference between quitting school and eventually graduating this spring with
his senior class.
“I had pretty much
checked out, and quitting school was without a doubt where I was heading”
Justin said. “Then the opportunity to become part of the inaugural fishing team
at our school happened and all of a sudden I had a reason to go to school.”
Justin’s story is not a new one; it is repeated hundreds of
times across the country each year with the emergence of the wildly popular high
The National High School
Fishing movement continues to grow rapidly since it was founded by the Student Anglers
Federation (SAF) more than a decade ago and
it is filling the void for a lot of students. In Justin’s case, like many
others, his situation at home was less than ideal and he found himself on his
own more times than not. Fortunately, fishing is a family-oriented sport and his
“fishing family” came to the rescue.
“I’m not really sure where I would be without our team,”
Justin said. “Having to make eligibility
each week gave me a reason to go to school and actually study. Now I’m just a
couple of months short of graduating and I absolutely have to give the credit
to our high school team.”
Team “mom” “Kimberly Wojcieszak also has seen the difference
fishing has made at the school of 1,200 students in southern Florida.
“We started our first
year with 14 students, and in just our third year we are at 36 team members and
still growing,” she said. “And as you can see in Justin’s case, it has been the
difference maker in his life.”
Principal Dylan Tedders is another big supporter of
high-school fishing. He is impressed by the way the program has brought school
pride to Okeechobee High School.
“The program has
given many of our students a sense of purpose and a great deal of pride in
representing not only the school but the OHS fishing team,” he said. “If this
program helped just one student like Justin, then it is most certainly a win
for us and we believe that our program will continually grow each year.
“It takes a little effort to get a club started but I think
that every school in the country that has any access to water should consider
adding a team to their program.”
Mark Gintert, the executive director of the Future Fisherman
Foundation and the former Bass Federation national youth director, including SAF, has seen many more
success stories in high school fishing.
When we first started our high school fishing program, we
coined the phrase ‘Promoting Education through Fishing’ “he said. “Justin is a
great example of the power of this program.”
“Some say it is just fishing or that the national high
school program has no impact beyond those who already fish.” But that’s not the
way Gintert sees it.
He points to the fact
that it’s not unusual to see 100-plus boats—each with an adult volunteer and
two high-school anglers—on lakes, rivers and reservoirs across the country on
every weekend in the heart of the fishing season. Ten years ago those type of events
never happened and if the program changes one students life for the better it
is all well worth it.
So just how big is the high-school sport? Estimates have
this program at around 45,000 active students participating in high school clubs,
circuits and regional trails across the nation. That equates to approximately 2,500
high school teams or clubs. Add to that over 22,500 boat captains, 2,000+ team
coaches and another 3,000 volunteers to those respective teams and you can add
another 27,500 adults who serve this program. Add the students and adult
volunteers together and it easily pushes over 72,000 people actively
participating in this program annually.
That leads us to the economic impact. As far as individual
expenditures, recent surveys tell us that the average high school angler has
over $600 in tackle and equipment. That would put the tackle sales to this
group at approximately $26 Million! Now that number may seem a little daunting
but F3 Director Gintert claims that entry into the sport is relatively easy for
students and as they progress their natural tendency is to acquire upgraded
equipment. There are also programs like the Future Fisherman Foundation’s
Tackle for Educators and Lew’s High School Grant Program that help clubs and
organizations with equipment for students who can’t afford it” added Gintert
Add in the boats that
are upgraded or purchased by adult coaches, gas for outboard motors and trip
expenditures such as motels and meals, and you can see that high-school fishing
has an impact on local economies and the fishing industry as a whole.
For Justin Hevey, just as his academic life has improved, so
has his fishing ability. Recently Justin and his partner John Pearce won a
Florida Southern District Regional event and have qualified for the High School
National Championship and World Finals. He feels that he has become a very versatile
angler with the ability to fish any type of water but admits that catching a
nine-pound largemouth on a frog was one of the highlights of his young career.
As for life after the Okeechobee High School team, Justin is
looking at both the college fishing opportunities or joining the Coast Guard
when he graduates in May.
Regardless of his
choice, high school fishing and this young man’s determination has paved the
way to a better life.
The very popular Lew’s High School Grant Program will once again be taking applications for the 2019 grant season starting on Monday January 7th. For the third straight year the Lew’s corporation will strive to put quality rods and reels in the hands of young High School aged anglers across the country through their ever-popular High School Grant Program. The intent of this great program is to foster and motivate the growth of the sport through these four key objectives.
1. Growing the sport of recreational fishing
2. Showcasing high school fishing as a valued educational
3. Elevating the visibility of youth fishing in the local
4. Instilling conservation awareness through best practices
There are three levels of grant
awards that are based on the size of the club, club activity, willingness to
promote the sport as well as conservation and the Keep America Fishing
The Program is administered for Lew’s by the Future
Fisherman Foundation a 501(C)3 Non-Profit who’s mission is to “Ensure the
Future of Fishing”.
“We are once again thrilled to partner with the Lew’s/
Strike King team to promote the High School Grant Program” stated F3 Executive
Director Mark Gintert. “This program has helped well over 200 High School teams
grow their respective clubs as well as the awareness of the benefits of High
School Fishing” added Gintert.
Interested applicants can apply at either the Lews.com
website or the futurefisherman.org site where they can find the Lew’s Grant
Program link highlighted in red on the right side of the page.
About the Future Fisherman Foundation
in 1986, the Future Fisherman Foundation
(F3) unites the sportfishing industry and a nationwide network of state outdoor
educators, national conservation groups, youth organizations and other
educators dedicated to introducing America’s youth to angling, conservation and
the outdoors lifestyle. The Future Fisherman Foundation (F3) operates under The
Bass Federation (TBF) umbrella of companies and is the official education arm
of TBF. For more info visit futurefisherman.org.