OnFocus – Kelly Callaway of Stevens Point has been an outdoorsman most of his life. He loves fishing and has fished many bass tournaments. One of his business ventures is Callaway Custom Rods. He makes fishing rods for anglers so they can get exactly what they want to hit the water. He has even donated custom-built rods to various charities for auction and raffle prizes.
Recently, Callaway decided he wanted to do more. Especially with everything happening in the world today, he wanted to help kids get out fishing. That is where the idea for his GO (Get Outside) Program found its roots. He is currently working with the foster care system in Portage County and will be creating a 501(c ) 3 corporation in the near future.
“I figure, if I can help just one kid, then it’s worth it.” He said. “I don’t know if I will ever know if I helped in the long run, but it would be great to think something I did helped a kid. If I can help a bunch of kids, even better.”
Callaway decided to start a charitable nonprofit 501 (c ) 3 as a way to help people be able to donate rods, reels, baits and even monetary donations that would then be tax deductible. He wants those who donate to understand that everything donated will go to kids and get families outside to do some fishing. He looks to be setting this up in the next few weeks with the board he is putting together now.
He has been collected used rods and reels from friends in the fishing community but has found kids and families need more than just the rods and reels. He said he did not really understand the other needs that would be involved when he started putting the rods and reels together.
“I had one kid as if he could get a pair of fishing gloves,” Callaway said. “That’s something I’m going to have to go out and buy. As this thing goes on, I think there will be more and more of that and I am going to need some help.”
He has started out working with five families in the Portage County area and is excited to see where the nonprofit will go. While he was initially focusing on kids, he said his focus is now turning toward entire families, and getting everyone involved in fishing. Whether it is a single parent, a foster family, or whatever the situation, he said, for those with no fishing experience, he felt it was important to include everyone.
“Its time to get these kids involved in conservation, teach them the sportsmanship values, and to just gets these kids outside. It’s our future. I think this is the best time, with everything going on right now. Getting them thinking about other things, and even the parents, I think it would be good for them.”
Callaway said in the future he would look for a local business that may be willing to serve as a drop off point for rods and reels, but for now, he people have been dropping off used rods and reels at his house.
“The bass community has been great,” he said of fishing friends and competitors. “There are so many great people in the fishing world, and they want to help. They just need a center point, or a place where they know they can donate and really help some people. And that’s what I want to provide. I am really excited about this.”
Callaway said the easiest way to contact him is through Facebook messenger or with a text or phone call. Those interested in learning more can search “Kelly Callaway” on Facebook or call or text him directly at 715-347-5263.
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