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Special needs kids cast a line at fishing derby in Jim Thorpe

Kids of all ages throughout Carbon County were able to take part, regardless of their disabilities.

JIM THORPE, Pa. — For Mackenzie Nedley, it was a good day at Germantown Grove in Jim Thorpe. 

"I got two," Nedley said. 

The 7-year-old is just one of 100 students and young adults who spent the day taking part in the Special Needs Fishing Derby. 

The Germantown Grove Club and American Legion Post 304 has put on the event for more than six decades. 

Except for the past three years because the coronavirus put a halt on fishing fun. 

"It's a special day for everybody here, and as you can see, there's a lot of fish in the water, and they're hungry, and they wanna bite, which makes it great for everybody," said Dave Remmel, with the Germantown Grove Club. 

"Just watching the kids pull out the fish and see that big smile on their faces. It's awesome, it was awesome just all you see is smiles," said Ronald Mertz, the Vice President of the Germantown Grove club.

Kids of all ages throughout Carbon County were able to take part, regardless of their disabilities.

For children who couldn't cast a line or physically reel in a fish, this special device was used to help them still get the full experience. 

"We come out for the kids. They love it. They like to try something different. They don't get too much of anything outdoors. It's hard for their parents," said Kristen Farley, a teacher in the multiple disabilities functional room at Lehighton High School.  

The fishing derby this year was filled with many firsts. 

Not only was this the first year students were able to go on a field trip, but it's also the first time many of them have learned how to fish.

"That's why we have all the adults here there helping them catch fish, and then they're fielding the fish to take home," Mertz said. "A lot of the schools take the fish back and will make this afternoon and feed it to the kids."

"We haven't been out in two years, so this is our first one out, and it's been really nice to see them and expose them to other people and not be so closed off," Farley said. 

New fishing rods were given out to the kids who caught the biggest fish.

Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.

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