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Youth writing contest aims to inspire next generation

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If we don’t encourage young writers and outdoors enthusiasts, the outdoor writer could soon become an endangered species. Kenneth Kieser, a former member of the OWAA Board of Directors, developed a new youth fishing story contest for three reasons: so kids will fish, so kids will write about fishing and so kids will simply be inspired to write.
An OWAA Supporting Group, the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame has been kind enough to launch the program. Kids from junior and senior high school are encouraged to write a fishing story and send it to the Hall of Fame with the appropriate form from their website. A panel of judges will read the stories, grading each one on a 40-point system that evaluates originality, style, quality and readability. To start, the program is offering one $500 scholarship for each of two age groups. Program organizers hope to be able to offer larger prizes and add second- and third-place awards in future years.
The first winners will be announced late in 2014. With a goal to expand the program’s impacts, the organizers are reaching out to outdoor writers to request their help in spreading the word. There are no catches (pardon the pun) to  helping out, and the contest falls under the umbrella of an established nonprofit organization with an important mission. Based in Hayward, Wisc., the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame is dedicated to education, recognition and promotion of fresh water sport fishing, and recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the sport.
“I remember the constant interest shown by veteran outdoor writers wanting the next generations to continue our work,” Kieser said. “This program may be the start of a new batch of outdoor writers or at least, it may make kids want to go fishing.”
Interested young writers can locate the application form link on the lower left side of the Hall of Fame’s home page at www.freshwater-fishing.org. For more information, please contact Kenneth Kieser at 913-254-7050 or kkieser@comcast.net. ♦
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