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Camp Hero Teaches Lifelong Lessons Through Fishing

By: Molly Demrow | LEX 18

June 26, 2024

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Camp Hero Kentucky hosted a fishing event where kids from the Lexington Leadership Foundation’s Urban Impact Summer Camp learned a lifelong skill: how to fish.

If it was not for Camp Hero and Rocco Besedniak, a former veteran, these kids would not have this opportunity. Besedniak served as a Shepherdsville police officer for seven years and was forced to retire due to spinal injuries in the line of duty. But during his time as a police officer, he saw first-hand the impact that drugs and crime have on kids.

He decided to put his compassion to good use. He is now serving kids in the Lexington area by being a positive influence. So, on Wednesday, Besedniak welcomed 25 at-risk kids to Jacobson Park for his second annual Camp Hero fishing event.

Besedniak said, “Most of these kids have never fished before, or ever had the opportunity. So by doing this, this is giving them something outside the life that they live... let them know that there are more things that they can do.”

After beginning treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety, he realized how being in nature can be therapeutic, especially for kids.

Their main goal is mental health initiatives to support veterans and first responders, but also mentoring these kids in the same way... through the outdoors.

Increased access to technology can mean less time outdoors, but the kids from Urban Impact are seeing just how exciting Mother Nature can be.

He said he hopes they make many memories during the three-hour camp and give the children something else to look forward to. Not only are they bringing home a new skill, but also a rod, reel, and tackle donated through Camp Hero.

Three lucky kids will win prizes on Wednesday: one for the largest fish, another for the smallest, and the last for the most fish caught.

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Camp Hero volunteer and Cesar after catching his first fish.

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