Live Oak Choctaw tribe offers fishing fun for kids

Live Oak Choctaw tribe offers fishing fun for kids
It's also a great way for the kids to connect with mother nature instead of their tablets and smart phones. (Photo source: WLOX)
It's also a great way for the kids to connect with mother nature instead of their tablets and smart phones. (Photo source: WLOX)

VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - For the second year, the Live Oak tribe of Choctaws from Vancleave is hosting a four-day fish camp for kids along the banks of Poticaw Bayou.

You arrive at the camp by boat. Then a little fuel in the form of food before the fun begins. You hear the sounds of excited children a lot this week on the bayou. The kids are reeling them in.

They're also reeling in something that's even more important. Emery "Gentleheart" Waltman is the event organizer.

"A lot of the kids have forgotten how to fish, hunt. Our ancestors, they lived off the land. And this is just another way to teach our kids the same thing," Waltman explained.

Being outside is therapeutic for everyone, including camp participant Rachel Waltman. "It just helps more and it's better than just sitting around and playing on the I-Phones."

Education also plays a role in this quiet and picturesque setting, according to Emery. "I have a brother coming in from Jacksonville later in the week. He's a retired game warden. He's supposed to be talking to the kids and teaching the kids about how nature works."

Now in 2016, a lot of kids, a lot of young adults, teenagers, they are connected with their smartphones and tablets. Being here fishing, they connect with something else.

That's what camp participant Ethan Hand says. "You get a different perspective on how everything is whenever you're outside more. It's like fun instead of being inside all day," Hand said.

For the parents joining in, like Debra Hand, it's a way for form a special bond with their children. "It's very important because he just loves it out here. And we're with our friends and family and getting used to swimming and fishing. He'll talk about it all year long."

Not just a year, but memories that will last a lifetime.

During the inaugural event last year, the tribe hosted almost 100 children. Organizers hope to have at least that many this year as well. The camp runs through Thursday.

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