The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees is helping introduce children to the outdoors.
The UKB invited first and second graders from Peavine and Bell Elementary Schools in Adair County to fish the tribe's pond in Tahlequah for a "Teach Me To Fish Day." It was the first event under the tribe's new education director, Dr. Leslie Hannah.
He said he put together the event to let folks know the United Keetoowah Band is alive and well and wants to be active in the community and invest in children.
“We're gonna take care of our students, show them the future is bright, so long as they're willing to walk through the door,” said Hannah.
The tribe's Human Services and Housing provided the fishing poles and gear, which the kids got to take home with them. And the pond was stocked with plenty of fish, giving all the kids a chance to catch at least one fish, they learned some lessons and made new friends.
“Safety, patience, I think camaraderie and the patience. I think the camaraderie and if you try, you can succeed,” said Michael Smith, Bell Public Schools Coach and Teacher. “Every single kid has been able to catch a fish -- some of them it took an hour and a half, some of them it took five minutes, but they kept trying, they stuck with it and they all succeeded.”
“It's good to see the two districts come together and the kids playing with each other and talking and getting to know each other,” said Peavine 2nd grade teacher, Michelle Kee.
Dr. Hannah said he plans to host a similar event in the spring.