More than 350 professional anglers have arrived in Macomb County ahead of this weekend’s FLW Tour on Lake St. Clair. Some are spending their time practicing and getting used to the choppy waterways of the Great Lakes. Others are enjoying the sight-seeing and fun dining options the area has to offer. But notably, in the busy lead up period to the competition, four anglers ventured out to Selfridge Air National Guard Base to speak to students at STARBASE One summer camp. The visit, which is part of the FLW Foundation’s community outreach initiative, was special for both the young people and the anglers.
As background, STARBASE One is a Department of Defense education program that offers classrooms of fifth grade students a free, five-day, hands-on curriculum that emphasizes the application of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Twenty-six years ago, when it was founded, STARBASE was the only DOD program of its kind in the country. Now there are 60 camps in the U.S. based on its model.
This year, the Selfridge camp is hosting more than 50 children from across southeast Michigan in its summer academy. And yesterday, when the FLW pros visited the base, the kids were ready to learn about fishing and how science and technology play an important role in the sport. Because as one angler put it: “The sport isn’t about luck. If that was the case, you wouldn’t have the same guys winning all the time.”
On site at STARBASE were pro anglers James Watson, Tom Redington, Cody Kelley and Jay Kendrick. The day began with a tour of the facility, intended to give the visitors an idea of what the students experience at the camp. The anglers then spoke to two classrooms about their sport, sharing their background, fun facts and some science. For instance, did you know that bass spawn at approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit? Or that those fish prefer a crayfish-like bait that has no appendages? I certainly did not know either of those details – so the session was a learning experience for me too!
At the end of the visit, the campers got to see the anglers’ boats up-close and learn more about the machines’ inner-workings. Some lucky participants even got to get onboard and experience it all first hand. Needless to say, those kids were excited.
Before heading out, the FLW Tour organizers presented STARBASE with a donation to help the organization continue its positive work in the community. For example, in addition to activities like visits from the FLW speakers, campers have the opportunity to:
- Stand nose-to-nose with cutting edge aircraft
- Become “astronauts” and launch into space aboard a full-scale space shuttle nose simulator
- Create 3D models using CAD software
- Program robots that navigate a simulated Mars surface
And its goals include:
- Providing students with an exceptional opportunity for experiencing hands-on science, technology, engineering and math
- Inspiring students and helping nurture positive attitudes toward their education and future
- Providing career motivation, orientation and exploration
- Fostering partnerships with the military, industry and educational communities
- Providing assistance and guidance to parents for their active participation in their child’s education.
So as you can see, STARBASE One is an important (and fun) resource for young people in our community. If you’re interested in learning more about the programs offered through the organization, you can visit its website here. To see what other summer camps are offered in southeast Michigan, visit here. And of course, to view the schedule for the upcoming FLW Tour on Lake St. Clair and to learn more about the accompanying Bass Brews and BBQ festival, click here.
Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.