PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg Family YMCA hosted its first fishing event with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Approximately 100 acres of property near Quincy Street and Highway 69 bypass was donated to the YMCA years ago. A portion of the property has a pond, which the previous YMCA Executive Director Jack Bache had already begun filling with fish.

There was fish a-plenty, YMCA Executive Director Mike Moore said.

Recently, the Y — with the help of Crawford County and local business Midwest Minerals, cleared the grass around the water, county put in a driveway and Midwest Minerals helped with the gravel.

Now the area can be put to use for fishing activities, and they Y did so last week with Big Brothers Big Sisters, along with volunteers from Kendall Packaging.
“It’s been a nice collaboration of donations and support to make it happen,” Moore said.

Cassidy Owen, Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor support specialist for Southeast Kansas, said the children caught plenty of fish.
“I thought it was very nice of Mike and the Y to allow our kids to go out there,” she said. “It was really nice and we had lots of fish, a lot of those kids never had the opportunity to go fishing.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters match children facing adversities with mentors. The “Big” and “Little” do activities together, such as fishing. Children are signed up through parents, schools, churches, and agencies such as KVC and DCF.

Last week, Kendall Packaging was a day sponsor during Big Brothers Big Sisters “A big for a day” program.
“Potential bigs can see what it can be like for them to be a big, and it gives the potential littles activities to do while waiting to be matched with a big,” Owen said.

According to Owen, there are 60 children matched and 60 more children are awaiting a match.
“It’s important for communities to realize there are three times as many boys on waiting list than girls,” she said.

These children often come from single parent homes or are facing poverty issues, Owen said.

“This was our very first event, and we are very excited to be able to do this and put this into play,” Moore said. “All in all, it was very successful and we are very excited and thankful for the groups that helped get it ready to go and put together.”

In the future, Moore said the Y would like to get the conversation started on a hiking trail and picnic area on the property.
“Our imagination is the limit on what we can do,” Moore said.