Newport Beach residence and Junior’s at Mater Dei High School, Matt Brennan and Ben Teitscheid wanted to give back to their community. Through research and their love for coastal living, chose to start an Ocean Club with the Boys and Girls Club of Westside Costa Mesa. "The kids at Westside Costa Mesa Boys and Girls club rarely have an opportunity to leave their local neighborhood" shared Brian Dolan, Director of Newport Mesa Boys and Girls Club. With his suggestion, Matt and Ben reached out to these kids. They wished to introduce participants to the wonders of our ocean, bay and environment. The first 6 children to get signed permission slips from their parents were in! And, it turns out they were all girls!
The first trip was to the Harbor Patrol Station in Newport Beach. The girls were able to explore the Sheriff’s station and climb aboard some of the boats. This was the first time many of the girls had been aboard a boat or a dock! There were many questions from the girls and you could see a twinkle in their eyes as their interests were peaked.
Since the boys were members of the Balboa Angling Club, the second trip was to the BAC where the girls were shown around the clubhouse and then played the Fish Identification Game created by Club Secretary Amy Elliott and run by BAC Member Teri Holland. “The game is easy if kids pay attention and these girls were awesome considering they had never been exposed to these fish” stated Elliott.
The next activity planned at the BAC was learning to fish with the help of Matthew and Ben, but first the “Kea Kai”, a 44’ Pacifica pulled into the dock to weigh in the first Dorado of the season! Jock Albright brought his catch in just in time for the girls to check out their first game fish. The weigh in was fun and as we presented Jock with the First Dorado Flag, the girls were on hand for the photographs.
Once the weigh in was complete (this is a really big thing for the kids), then it was time to fish! The girls learned to operate the rods and reels and were instructed in proper casting techniques. One of the girls caught her very first fish, a stingray! Both Ben and Matt were excellent role models and the Balboa Angling Club is a terrific place to learn about fishing!
Giving back to the community has never been more satisfying. Several more trips were planned including Newport Beach Lifeguard facilities, ExplorOcean, and the Balboa Ferry. This program has worked so well, that next year Matt and Ben want to expand the program!
(For more information about the Balboa Angling Club, call 949.673.6316, stop by the clubhouse at 200 A Street in Balboa just a few doors down from the Balboa Pavilion or go to www.balboaanglingclub.org.)