ELKINS, W.Va. – On Saturday, Elkins Park and Recreation in partnership with the Randolph County Family Resource Network hosted the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs event at the Phil Gainer Community Center.  

Organizers said this is the first time in two years being able to bring back the event because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and lots of kids filled the community center seeing all the resources in the area they can participate in along with learning about the negative effects drugs can impose on a person’s life.  

“I think that a lot of kids, especially in our community don’t have access to a lot of things that are being provided today at HOFNOD, or have the ability of getting such a thing as a hunting fishing license, which we’re actually raffling off six today. So, I think this is really about trying to instill a new love of outdoor recreation,” said Owen Peet, Youth Development Coordinator for Elkins Parks and Recreation.

Organizers also stated they hope this event opens the doors for the love of the outdoors and to keep kids out of trouble and away from drugs.  

“I think we’re here to show the signs and teach the negatives of this lifestyle [drugs] and show that there is more to life than drugs,” Peet said. “And I think a lot of what we hear in West Virginia is about the opioid epidemics, like this constant, I think we need to turn away from that and focus more on what we have that’s the positives. And I think when we feed into, into that kind of, as a community we’re kind of steered towards that direction. And I think we all kind of need to get together and say, no this is not what defines us as a state, we need to define ourselves as Wild and Wonderful, and West Virginia.” 

Peet also expressed that there are people in the community who want to see kids more active and engaging with the wildlife in the area. He said that there are many resource organizations that want to see families and those struggling with addiction to be successful community members.