Forever Young still thriving after five years

First Posted: 6/10/2014

The Forever Young Kid’s Fishing Derby is one of those things that seem to get better every year, according to Linda Young, who founded the derby in memory of her husband, Lawrence E. “Bud” Young, an avid fisherman, who passed away April 13, 2009.

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” Young said.

The annual fishing derby, which in its first year attracted 150 kids to Eston Wilson Lake at Hillside Park, South Abington Township, continues to draw an average of 225 area youth each year.

The fifth annual derby is scheduled for Saturday at Hillside Park, with hours of family fun and fishing instruction provided by the Lackawanna Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Derby hours are 9 a.m. to noon and prizes will be awarded from noon to 1 p.m.

Children 15-years-old and younger are invited to participate in the free event that includes hot dogs, drinks, the “Bud Award,” and raffles. The first 150 kids to arrive at the park will receive a free derby T-shirt.

Young said she began the derby after her friend, Liana Smith called and simply said, “Fishing Derby!”

“Of all the things I could think of to honor Bud,” she said, “this was the first that he would appreciate, that wasn’t so big that it wouldn’t have longevity.”

The derby has been a tremendous success largely due to community support, Young said. In the first four years combined, she said $8,000 derived from numerous monetary and in-kind donations which “have gone right to the park.”

“It’s all because they (the volunteers ) are either Bud’s friends, or they’re people he has been in organizations with or they’re just another one of the Abington people whose lives Bud touched,” Young said. “He left an indelible mark on the lives of so many people.

“We’ve added a few people but we haven’t lost anyone in five years.”

The Abington Community Library is one of the many local organizations and businesses hooked on the derby. Children can pre-register for the derby at the library until Friday at 5 p.m. A parent’s signature is required at pre-registration.

“I’ve stopped at the library twice so far to pick up pre-registration forms and both times Patti (King Pallo) has told me how excited the kids are about the derby,” Young said. “That excitement about catching a fish, about watching the excitement of a child catching a fish makes a fishing derby the perfect fit.”

“The kids love the derby,” Pallo said. “Linda and her group of volunteers make it a fun day for all of the kids.”

When it comes to hosting a successful event, the more hands the better.

“Everyone has their own job,” Young said. “The Masons donate the tent, put it up and they cook. The Civic League bakes snacks for the kids and they run the food booth. The Abington Lions Club does the registration and they also do security for the prizes. Thom Kriedler is in charge of judging and really was my mentor in putting the first one (derby) together and the Abington Sportsman’s Club. … I couldn’t do this without the support of a countless number of local organizations and businesses that donate prizes, coupons and services.

“I’m really glad we started it and I’m amazed at the community support. Bud’s friends were not fair weather friends. They can’t do enough.”

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