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Meet Kendall Newson of Teach a Child to Fish

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kendall Newson.

Kendall, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
When I retire from the NFL in 2007, I wanted to teach fishing so I started Teach a child to Fish.

I saw that not a lot of African American were in angling and fishing bass tournaments. Something I love to do growing up in Decatur.

I did not want to give back by teaching football. I felt that kids needed something else to do other than regular stick and ball sports. My dad taught me how to fish and I wanted to teach other youth to fish but not only to fish but to fish for their dreams in life that one day they would catch them and be successful.

I put something down on paper and plan to go to the local Walmart and wait for kids to come or adults to come by and ask questions about fishing and Teach a Child to Fish was born. I would like to say it was very trying to get people to stop and talk about fishing but a few at a time did.

I remember praying and telling God, one person is good enough. If I didn’t get anyone, I’ll stop. There were many days where one person would show up and then two to three would show up. After I saw that the lessons were getting better, I planned our first fishing outing at Buford Trout Hatchery.

I would always do training classes on youth fishing clinics and trade shows until one day I got invited to meet with Bass pro shops.

That meeting helped us so much and I was so excited that they really wanted to work with me as an angler and Teach a Child to Fish. (TACTF)

From there, we planned more events and I fished more tournaments as an ambassador for the NFL and a mentor to young people.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has been pretty smooth. Not really a lot of fuss when it comes to fishing and teaching children how to fish.

The help that my family gives is by far the best in the world. My wife makes sure we have fun all the time and make sure we are well prepared.

We have so many people come and go with a new attitude about family outdoor activities. When you see kids catching fish with their parents for the first time, it’s priceless!

Young children need to have something good happen to them that they can control at an early age and that’s what catching your first fish gives them. A sense of independence in finishing a task.

Please tell us about Teach a Child to Fish.
Our mission is to teach and mentor youth through fishing programs, to help them find their own true value of life and to preserve and protect the great outdoors.

Teaching kids about life, not just about fishing, is what we specialize in. Fishing gives us a way to slow things down so we can have a heart to heart talk about real issues a group of kids is going through.

We are most proud of our company because we can really say we meet kids and adults where they need that space or moment in life where everything comes together.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I can still remember walking down the bank on WestPoint Lake in LaGrange, GA and my dad telling me to cast down the bank and after getting hung in the rocks and trees, again and again, until caught my first largemouth bass. I hit the line and I caught it on my own. The feeling I felt then was shocking and exciting at the same time and it’s still the same way now whenever I catch a bass.

My childhood was full of fishing outings, basketball and football games in the backyard with my brothers and fighting with my sisters about not doing what they ask of me.

Childhood, man! Do I miss it? Sorry. We have to grow up but as long as I got my fishing pole, I can fish like a child every day.

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