By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO Thanks to many dedicated adults and community organizations, a group of 13-year-old to 19-year-old Monticello boys recently enjoyed a chartered fishing trip which might make veteran anglers a bit jealous.
At 4 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 17, the boys and several adult chaperones stepped on a bus in Monticello for a trip to Freeport, Long Island. Upon arriving in Freeport, the group of 42 boys and chaperones boarded the Captain Jim III fishing boat.
Captain Jim Pallidino and his crew members then guided the boat out to sea. Within minutes, the Monticello teens were holding fishing poles and trying their best to catch blue fish, flounder and sea bass.
The trip was organized by Community Progressive Response (CPR) and Eric Young, who is a co-chairman of CPR, served as one of the chaperones.
“Seventy-five percent of the boys caught fish,” he said. “They had so much fun.”
The group of young anglers included one boy who won a gold medal at the national finals of the Junior Olympic Skills Competition as well as some troubled boys.
Young noted that kids and chaperones alike were in awe of the sheer beauty of the ocean water, the sea gulls flying over the boat and the bright blue sky above it all. He said it was such a beautiful day that the kids were somewhat confused. It was difficult to tell if they were really experiencing the fishing trip or if they were dreaming.
To everyone’s delight, it was a real trip on a large fishing boat.
“As time progressed, we heard the call of ‘fish on’ many times,” Young said. “As I watched, tears came into my eyes, for all my hard work paid off.”
The work to which Young referred included the dozens of hours he spent going house to house and store to store in Monticello to ask for donations for the trip.
At the end of the trip, Young said several of the boys came up to him and said, “Thank you, Mr. Young. When are we going again?”
Young said he is grateful the fishing trip went so well and that so many people contributed to its success.
“I must thank all the homeowners and businesses that donated money,” he said. “Thanks to the Honorable Josephine Finn and her organization Creative Think Tank, Inc., of which I am proud to be a member. Josephine Finn is a heroine and a champion of the minorities in Sullivan County.
“Thanks also to Mrs. Debbie Mack, my fellow chairman of CPR, and her unparalleled efforts in our crusade to save the children,” Young continued.
He also thanked Caroline Massey of Communities That Care, Village of Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins, Monticello Central School Superintendent Dr. Patrick Michel, Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff, Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty, Monticello Police Chief Doug Solomon, Village of Monticello Manager John Barbarite and “the members of the community that show up at our CPR meetings.”
While the fishing excursion was very successful, Young stressed the need for more positive events for Monticello’s young men.
“We need more donations for more events and workshops,” he explained. “Our goal is to save the children through educational, vocational, cultural and recreational agendas. We’re calling on people of all races, all religions and all backgrounds to come to our meetings at 6 p.m. on Monday nights at the Neighborhood Facility in Monticello.”
People who wish to help financially may write out checks to Creative Think Tank, Inc. and send them to Eric Young, 46 Nelshore Drive, Monticello, NY 12701.