In the summer of 1968, several charter fishing boats left the piers of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf loaded with wide-eyed kids looking for new adventures. Accompanying these novice fisherman were a group of off-duty San Francisco Police Officers bent on providing these kids with thrills they had never before experienced.
Nearly forty years after those first few fishing trips, the San Francisco Police Youth Fishing Program is still an integral part of recreational opportunities for Bay Area youngsters. More than 130,000 boys and girls have participated in the Program since its inception and every exciting trip has been escorted by at least one officer.
Charter Boat Fishing
During the recent past, the fishing program has focused on providing charter boat fishing trips either in the San Francisco Bay or on the Pacific Ocean. Thousands of kids have experienced the thrill of catching their first king salmon or striped bass. Just imagine how excited they must be in relating their fishing experience to their family and friends.
The "Good Guys"
The police officers who work with kids in the San Francisco Police Youth Fishing Program donate much of their off-duty time to participate with kids in fishing activities. The Program originated with the intent of getting officers and kids together in a non-law enforcement setting. Our volunteer police officers teach kids how to fish and how to enjoy the natural beauty and resources of the San Francisco Bay and the coastal Pacific Ocean. At the same time, kids come to find out that officers really are there to help them and they are not someone to be afraid of. For most participating kids, our trips are their first opportunity to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and to enjoy the bounty that the Pacific Ocean has to offer.
The nature of fishing in the San Francisco Bay Area has changed significantly over the past twenty years. To adapt to these changes, the Program is in the process of creating new partnerships that will allow for the creation of a new marine education component. Kids will develop a new appreciation of the Bay Area's marine ecology while still enjoying the opportunity of catching a "fish of a lifetime'.
Supporting the Kids
The Program has always been supported by private donations and corporate sponsorship. While the San Francisco Police Department has assisted with personnel, the actual costs to run the Program have come from the limited fund raising that members of the Program have been able to generate. Over the years the Program has partnered with other organizations such as the Guardsmen and the San Francisco Police Officers Association. Many local businesses have 'sponsored' a boat trip for local kids and have been able to send a representative to join the kids in their big adventure.
The Program's activities have always been provided at no cost to either the individual youngster or the organizations/groups that they belong to. Our goals is to continue any of our futre activities at no cost to participating kids.