ROSELLE, NJ — It will be a day of fishing, mentoring, and guy time.
Roselle’s Mayor Christine Dansereau, the Roselle Borough Council and the Department of Recreation will be heading out for a day of fishing June 12 for the first Boys II Men Fishing Trip, for boys ages 10 to 16.
The boys will head out to a nearby park for a camping-like experience, where they will enjoy some good, old-fashioned fishing and a delicious lunch cooked up on an outdoor grill.
Roselle Director of Recreation Donald Shaw told LocalSource that the trip is all about bonding, creating positive experiences, and teaching young men what it means to be a productive and successful adult. “I grew up in the inner city where I experienced firsthand the powerful impact mentors had on my life and the life of my peers,” said Shaw. “Boys become successful men when they have role models who can expose them to a variety of ideas and opportunities.”
Shaw, who has worked extensively in the nonprofit and municipal recreation fields, as well as volunteering as a football coach for more than 20 years, said that he has seen firsthand the impact of a positive role models in the lives of young men.
“I’ve seen young boys without a father in the home start to think about their futures
with hope and expectations, where prior to interacting purposefully with men, they didn’t think beyond the end of the current day,” Shaw said. “Now I have young men stopping by to visit while they’re on break from college. Some call me to give news about getting promotions on their jobs. These are boys who used to hang around, get into trouble and really not see themselves as capable of anything better. Many of these boys don’t have fathers in the home or sometimes they
do, but the relationship may be strained or their dads may be working long hours
to provide for them.”
B.T. Mathis, Roselle Community Center Director and Senior Citizen Coordinator, said that the event will be a new experience for many of the young participants. “It’s a bonding experience,” said Mathis. “It’s giving young people in the city who have never had an opportunity to go fishing. This will be the first time for many of these boys to get a fishing pole, bait, and to get out there and fish.”
Mathis said that it will be a great experience for the mentors as well. “This will help some men in the community give back,” said Mathis. “It’s a mentoring thing as well as an opportunity for us to get together. I guess you could say it’s a rite of passage. I’m excited about it. I’m glad I’m included.”
Dansereau told LocalSource that programs like the upcoming fishing trip are a part of a comprehensive programmatic strategy in the recreation department that emphasizes both active recreation and adult guidance. “Our Recreation Department is about developing the whole child,” said Dansereau. “The Boys II Men initiative, with its emphasis on mentorship, is designed to develop Roselle’s youth into active and involved citizens.”
Shaw said that fishing was the perfect activity for the young men. “The expression, ‘if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime’ works literally and metaphorically,” said Shaw. “Boys need to learn how to be providers for themselves and for their families and communities, so understanding the concept of fishing lays the foundation for that. It also is a relaxing, peaceful activity which a lot of boys may never get to do. It’ll give the mentors and mentees time to talk and just kick back. I think it’s going to be great. At the end of the day, it takes a village to raise a child. In today’s climate that is an even truer statement.
Whatever I can do to help, I do. Many men think nothing of taking a bunch of boys along when they are taking their own sons to games and other events. That’s the village.”