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New crew on board to launch 2016 season for Let's Go Fishing

WILLMAR - As Twins fans know all too well, picking up the right roster can mean everything.

Let's Go Fishing is launching its 2016 season Monday. Director Joe Holm, right, lifts fishing rods and reels to Kevin Rache, a volunteer with the Willmar chapter, as they equip a pontoon boat for the season ahead. They were busy outfitting the pontoons Friday at the chapter's office along U.S. Highway 71 in Willmar. (Tom Cherveny | Tribune)

Joe Holm believes he has the winnings combination for the Willmar chapter of Let's Go Fishing, which is launching its new season Monday.

Holm, director of the statewide organization that provides fishing and boating excursions, said the local chapter has been able to seat a new board and will get its 2016 season underway in full stride and right on time. Local volunteers will begin taking the first of an expected 500 students from the Willmar and New London-Spicer Schools on the waters of Green Lake in the coming two weeks.

Community support made it possible to recruit a new board and get things underway in a timely manner, according to Holm.

The Willmar chapter's previous board of directors had resigned earlier this spring. That left Let's Go Fishing with the challenge of finding new volunteers ready to take on the challenges in one month's time.

Let's Go Fishing took a new approach in appointing the board. It's an approach that could become a model for chapters across the state, he said.

The new board members are individuals whose professional roles and personal passions specifically fit the missions of Let's Go Fishing. People who work with senior citizens, veterans, and young people or have passions for doing so were purposely sought. For example, the new members include Marybeth Potter, director of Rice Hospice; Kelly Doss, director of Advocacy & Inclusion Matter; and Trish Appledorn, veterans service officer for Kandiyohi County.

"They will be able to work in the area where they have (their) passions," said Holm of the new board members.

Along with the chapter's board of directors, volunteers also stepped up to serve on an advisory council for it. Mayors Marv Calvin of Willmar and Denny Baker of Spicer along with the Rev. Troy Bates are the new advisory members from throughout the 30- to 40- mile radius that the Wilmar chapter services.

Holm believes that those served by Let's Go Fishing will benefit by the advice that professionals who deal with the needs of seniors, youth, veterans, and their families can best provide.

"You cannot help somebody unless you find a way to connect with them," he said.

People with the passion and professional experience in making those connections will strengthen Let's Go Fishing in its goal to serve people, he explained.

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