Aaron Kjenstad is executive director of the Sidekicks youth mentoring program.
Fishing, baseball and golf: not a bad way to end your summer. The Sidekicks youth mentoring program had a busy end of the summer.
On Aug. 7, we had 57 youngsters join us for our first annual Kids Fishing Derby at Wylie Park. Our top anglers of the day were Brayden Webb, Grant Fritz and Maria Jenkins, as they combined to haul in a whopping 43 fish. Matt Trenhaile and Hailey Sharp reeled in the biggest hogs of the evening: Both snared a 1-pound northern pike. Nick Cochran from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks stopped by and gave the kids a few pointers. The kids had a great time and took in pizza, snacks, drinks and all received a goody bag for participating.
A few days later, a bus full of loyal Twins fans hopped out of bed at 6 a.m. and headed for Minneapolis to take in a Twins matinee vs. the White Sox. One of our youngsters was all excited and asked if we are going through Pierre on the way. He wanted to stop and see a friend. Thankfully, our GPS did not get us to Minneapolis via the Pierre route.
The highlight for most was after the game the kids were able to run the bases. As the famous John Gordon use to say, “Touch 'em all.” The kids did just that.
As the summer comes to a close, Sidekicks is now gearing up for our biggest fundraiser of the year. On Oct. 5, we are hosting our third annual Golf Balls for Smalls event. The Aberdeen Fire and Rescue team will be dropping 4,000 numbered golf balls onto our mock golf course at Swisher Field before Northern State's homecoming football game.
Ticket holders have a chance to win $100, or our grand prize of $1,000. Last year's big winner was Corey Kramer. Bruno Kuhfeld was the grand prize winner in 2011.
The funds help us pay for fun outings we provide for our Talls and Smalls. In the past year, we have gone to: the Haunted Forest, a Wings game, a fishing tournament, a Twins game and swimming at the YMCA. We have also gone bowling and enjoyed pizza.
If you would like to support our youth mentoring program by purchasing a ticket, stop by the Aberdeen Family YMCA, Malchow's, Aberdeen Parks and Recreation, Ken's SuperFair Foods or by calling 605-377-5101.
A few of our Smalls are going to be helping out at Presentation College home football games. The kids will be out cheering on the Saints and serving as ball boys. They will be getting an up-close seat to all the hard-hitting action.
Sidekicks is always recruiting more mentors who can devote a couple days a month being a friend to a youth. Mentoring is spending quality time doing fun activities together. If you would like more information on our program, visit our website at sidekicksprogram.org. You may also speak to one of our board members: Barb Cutler, Angie Huff, Chris White, Nate Gellhaus or Lori Bruns.