|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
||For More Information, Contact:
|June 19, 2006
||Coria Holland, Director of Communications
||617-727-5300, ext. 258
Berkshire County Juvenile P.O. Shares
Fishing Passion with Court-Involved Youth
A Berkshire County Probation Officer turned
a generous donation of equipment and his love for fishing
and the outdoors into what has become an annual fishing
derby for court-involved and underprivileged children.
Nearly 400 children have participated in
Alex Daugherty’s fishing derbies since he first started
them in 1998 through the Northern Berkshire County Juvenile
Court Probation Department. Several teenagers, who fished
in the derbies when they were younger, have even returned
to help teach the current participants. The next fishing
derby is scheduled for June 24th at Reynold’s Pond
in Chesire. There are also derbies scheduled for July and
Daugherty, a nine-year Probation Officer,
was bequeathed a gift of fishing equipment from an anonymous
donor who provided the equipment on the condition that
Daugherty developed youth programming. The equipment included
40 fishing poles, reels, and tackle. He even began offering
fishing as an activity to children before he became a Probation
Officer. He shared his love of angling with children in
after-school programs in the local public school system.
An avid outdoorsman, Daugherty knew that
fishing and learning to appreciate nature would serve as
a bridge for young people to a more positive environment.
“I wanted to introduce the children
to the outdoors and nature. A lot of the kids don’t
get out. There is the camaraderie, competition and the
thrill of catching a fish,” said Daugherty.
“Alex, Dan Turner and other P.O.’s
have enjoyed working with their clients while in the outdoors.
These derbies are another way to show these clients that
we understand how tough it can be to grow up these days
but there are positive activities they can enjoy without
drugs and alcohol,” said Chief Probation Officer
The children, participating in the derby,
fish at local lakes that are stocked with donated trout.
The fishing holes include Wild Acres in Pittsfield, Reynold’s
Pond in Chesire and Windsor Lake in North Adams.
Daugherty hosts a graduation for the participants
and the children get the opportunity to earn prizes for
first fish caught, biggest fish, and smallest fish.
“I started fishing with Alex and the
guys when I was 13. I learned a lot from them,” said
A.J., a former Youthful Offender who is 19 years old and
is no longer court-involved. A.J. caught the “State
Record” catfish, the largest recorded in the state
Daugherty learned to love fishing at an early
age himself. His father, a longshoreman on the Hudson River
of New York, moved his family to the Berkshires when Daugherty
was six years old. Daughtery’s uncles, “big
outdoorsmen,” introduced him to fishing and hiking. “They
were real mentors to me,” said Daugherty, who along
with his wife will be honored next month by a local group
for their extensive involvement with community charity
“It is good to offer other alternatives
to children, not just sports. Anyone can fish. Boys or
girls. There is no physical or age limitation,” Daugherty