NAPLES, FL – When school lets out for summer break, new gear will be waiting for kids who participate in the Collier County Sheriff’s Office’s fishing program at Naples Pier.
And it’s all thanks to the efforts of a CCSO Citizens Academy graduate who saw a need for new fishing equipment and enlisted the community’s help.
“This generous donation underscores how invaluable a resource our Citizens Academy is,” Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said. “The partnerships that are forged benefit us as an agency and in instances like this the community at large.”
Brian Kamp relocated to Collier County from New Jersey. Wanting to become more of a part of his new community, the retired sheet metal worker enrolled in our Citizens Academy, which gives participants an up-close look at the inner workings of the agency. He was impressed with the work CCSO does to keep the community safe.
Kamp continued to be impressed by the agency when he learned about how our Youth Relations Bureau deputies teach kids how to fish at the pier as part of our annual Summerfest youth activities program. It brought back memories of how someone taught him to fish 60 years ago, so he decided to check it out for himself. He’s been coming back to the pier, helping deputies with the program for the past four years.
“It touched me that you don’t put (Youth Relations) officers in a squad car in the summer and that they’re out there with the kids back in the community,” he said.
Last year, Kamp noticed the tackle was getting to be in poor shape, so he came up with the idea of a fundraising drive to buy new gear. An Elks Club member in New Jersey for 43 years, Kamp approached Naples Elks Lodge 2010 with his idea. The local Elks were on board. The Elks held raffles during Sunday NFL football games to raise money and members simply donated to the cause.
A pig roast and raffle with prizes donated by area businesses recently wrapped up the fundraising drive. The event sold out and met its goal, raising enough money to purchase 40 rod and reel combos from Sunshine Ace Hardware in Naples. Sunshine Ace has been a longtime partner with CCSO in the fishing program, along with Naples Wholesale-Retail Bait and Everglades Fishing Co.
Besides new fishing gear, there will be plenty of new faces to greet kids this summer, said Kamp, who has since joined the local Elks lodge. Members are “already lining up” to volunteer, he said.
“I left the officers with a commitment to help them out and the Elks will be there this summer,’ Kamp said.