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New mentorship program starts in Perham

Submitted photo Roger Grindstaff, far right, leads participants on a Fishers of Men field trip to Maple Haven.

A new mentorship program in Perham is giving area youth an opportunity to make new friends and get outdoors experience.

Fishers of Men Ministry, a Christian, outdoor-based program was started last month by Roger Grindstaff and Kevin Hennagir of Perham Community Alliance Church. So far, the program is averaging eight to 10 kids during each event.

The purpose of Fishers of Men, according to Hennagir and Grindstaff, is for "kids to learn what God has created for them to enjoy, to teach them good stewardship and how to take care of what God has created, to make new friends and how to be a good friend, a good sportsperson," and more.

So far, Fishers of Men has held several events, including painting birdhouses and taking field trips to Maple Haven and the rifle range and more.

Hennagir and Grindstaff said they were interested in starting the mentorship program because they thought the Perham community had a need for it.

Both Hennagir and Grindstaff have outdoor and fishing experience that they plan on teaching kids who join he program.

"I've always wanted to take kids fishing," Grindstaff said. "We live around so many lakes in Minnesota, and there's actually a lot of kids who have never had the chance to wet a line."

According to Hennagir and Grindstaff, Fishers of Men will teach area kids about fishing, such as how to catch and why to release, the cleaning and cooking of fish and boat safety.

Youth will also learn about hunting and gun safety, as well as basic outdoor skills, such as survival, first aid, berry picking, camping and respect for nature.

Although the program is still small, both Hennagir and Grindstaff said the response from participants has been positive.

"We've had a lot of feedback," Grindstaff said. "A lot of kids have told their parents how much fun they've had with us going to do this stuff."

Fishers of Men is not yet equipped for handicapped children, Grindstaff said. If the opportunity to help a handicapped child arises, though, he or she wouldn't be turned down, he said.

"We're not going to refuse any kid who wants to go fishing," he said.

Hennagir and Grindstaff said they have appreciated the support of area businesses in helping get Fishers of Men off the ground. Whispering Pines donated fishing lures for the program, Greenspire Graphics has given Hennagir and Grindstaff a discount on T-shirts and Pamida has also donated fishing rods.

For more information about the program or to volunteer, contact Roger at 218-385-2157, or Kevin at 218-298-1131. Donations can be sent to the Perham Community Alliance Church, c/o Fishers of Men Ministry, 600 8th St NE, Perham.