- It's no secret to anglers that the Northwoods makes for some great fishing.
That's why fishing club coach Jim Bondi brought a group of 30 kids and chaperones up to Boulder Junction for the week.
"It's never about fish. The fish is a bonus," said Bondi. "I want them to have fun, want them to have a good time, want them to have lasting memories and I want them to build on a passion they currently have."
The fishing club at Hinsdale South High School in Darien, Illinois made their way to the Northwoods for a week-long fishing trip at Wildcat Lodge in Boulder Junction. Most students that join the club had little to no experience fishing.
"I fished when I was little but I didn't really know what I was doing," explained Hinsdale South High School alum Faith Most. "When I got in high school, I was like, I kind of want to learn for myself and actually see how to do it. So I kind of joined the club and learned a lot actually, a lot more than I thought."
Some loved fishing so much in high school that they continued at college.
"I didn't really fish before I joined the club and now I am actually on my college team at Bradley University. So I learn quite a bit from Mr. Bondi and all the other kids," said alum Jill Emerson.
The students will fish as often as they can, but the week is about so much more than reeling in the big one.
"I think they come up thinking it's a 45 inch musky or a 5 lbs. small mouth, but one thing that I think is really important is starting to grow their autonomy on the water, their confidence level on the water," said Bondi. "These kids haven't had a lot of opportunity on a boat. Obviously we're big on the outdoors and fishing. And it's our opportunity to basically cultivate those passions."
The week-long trip also gives kids a chance to connect with nature.
"It's very meaningful, I think, to be out in nature and have those experiences that bring you close together," said Bondi. "I think there's a lot of benefit for us to unplug out of the chaos we all live in. It's good your cell phone doesn't work out here. It's good you can't be on email. And just come out and unplug and kind of tune into this, and it's awesome."