On target for fun

Event takes local foster, adopted children to the great outdoors

A ranger with the Missouri Department of Conservation helps Alex Lock, 5, of New Bloomfield aim his bow and arrow Saturday during the Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association’s “Family Fun Fishing” event. The non-profit organization supports adoptive and foster parents. The Callaway County United Way donated a $1,000 grant to the organization in order to provide supplies and educational kits for the children to fish, learn how to use bows and arrows and learn about the outdoors.

A ranger with the Missouri Department of Conservation helps Alex Lock, 5, of New Bloomfield aim his bow and arrow Saturday during the Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association’s “Family Fun Fishing” event. The non-profit organization supports adoptive and foster parents. The Callaway County United Way donated a $1,000 grant to the organization in order to provide supplies and educational kits for the children to fish, learn how to use bows and arrows and learn about the outdoors. Photo by Brittany Ruess.

Adopted and foster children made long-lasting memories as they experienced the great outdoors Saturday.

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Jewels Patton, 7, of Ashland poses for a picture with a fish she caught Saturday at a New Bloomfield lake. Adoptive and foster parents brought their children to the lake for the Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association’s “Family Fun Fishing” event.

The Callaway County chapter of the Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association (MFCAA), a non-profit organization, hosted a fishing excursion for adopted and foster children and their parents and guardians.

This was with the help of the Callaway County United Way, which awarded its $1,000 Community Enhancement Grant to MFCAA for supplies for the day such as lunches and educational kits.

“Our whole mission is giving kids a brighter future and that’s what (Callaway County United Way) did for us,” MFCAA President Nabrina Evans said.

Rangers from the Missouri Department of Conservation were available to guide children through fishing and shooting bows and arrows.

The event, Evans said, is the children’s “biggest memory for the year,” and for some, it was their first fishing experience.

For children who were neglected or abused, this was a safe event for them to be care free, she added.

“They don’t have to worry about anything,” Evans said. “It’s all about them.”

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Andy Evans and his son Austin Evans, 7, of Ashland fish together Saturday at a New Bloomfield lake. Adoptive and foster parents and their children gathered Saturday for the Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association’s “Family Fun Fishing” event that allowed parents and children to experience nature through fishing and shooting bows and arrows. A grant from the Callaway County United Way helped make the event possible.

Parents and children in the program meet once a month, which gives parents an opportunity to share stories and give one another advice. Saturday’s event allowed the children to grow closer, Fulton parent Melanie Stotler said.

“This is really a chance for the kids to bond together as well,” Stotler said.

For New Bloomfield parent Tim Lock, he enjoyed watching the children not hooked to the TV or video games as they played, fished and laughed on his property — acres of open land that included the fishing lake.

While Lock and his family, he said, can enjoy the space any time, that’s not the case for many of the children — especially the foster children.

“I think it’s wonderful to give then this opportunity … some have never had before,” Lock said.

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