DEXTER - Thanks to some new blood and a new board, the defunct Dexter Fish and Game Association is up and off to a running start.
“We kicked it off with a bang with the derby,” said Vance McNaughton, the association’s new president. The newly-reorganized group met for the first time on January 6, and by January 16-17 they were hosting their first major event – a fishing derby on Lake Wassookeag.
“We had a good turnout--152 entrants--and we couldn’t have asked for nicer weather,” McNaughton said. The group took over the annual fundraising fishing derby from the first Maine branch of the national Quality Deer Management Association, which operated the derby in recent years. The QDMA is strong nationally, but the fledgling Maine group, founded in October 2006, failed to thrive. Fortunately, many members then turned their attention to resurrecting the Dexter Fish and Game Association.
The association, chartered on September 21, 1951, was an extremely popular organization up until about a decade ago.
“This club used to be very active,” McNaughton said. “Doctors, lawyers, all of the movers and shakers in town used to be involved.”
The association’s checking and savings accounts had been kept active, but meetings and activities had fallen by the wayside.
“Once a group of people stepped forward that wanted to get it going, they turned it over,” McNaughton said. “This is a non-profit, so we got that reinstated and got the accounts changed over to the new treasurer. We’re hoping to have a potluck dinner or two this spring and summer, maybe get a barbecue going. We want to try different things to get members to let us know what they like to do and to get whole families out to have a good time.”
Other than the snowmobile club, McNaughton said, there isn’t an organization to promote outdoor activity in the area. A love of the outdoors, and a desire to pass that love on to the next generation, are driving forces for the association.
“A lot of kids nowadays get on the computer and play games and stay there,” he said. “We want to try to get more of them out doing things, to keep the traditions of years past going. They are the future of hunting and fishing. When I was in high school, the first day of the season didn’t fall on a Saturday. Most of the boys took that day off to go hunting.
There’s not a very big percentage [of kids] getting outside now. It’s too bad, because we’re losing that heritage.” The association plans to have activities during the town’s annual summer festival. Some members are also in the Maine Bowhunters Association and have offered to give archery lessons to young people. Family and youth activities will be a big focus of the group. Because of the large overlap of QDMA members, there may also be some seminars on wildlife habitat and food plots.
“The more of that kind of thing, the better,” McNaughton said. “Hopefully we’ll get enough interest to keep it going and actually do some good in the area.” Any outdoor enthusiast is welcome to join the Dexter Fish and Game Association despite town of residence. The group has some former members as well as several newcomers.
Meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at the Dexter Municipal Golf Course. For more information, visit www.dexterfishandgame.info or call McNaughton at 277-3128 or Jim Nicholas, vice president, at 924-5082."This content originally appeared as a copyrighted article in the SVWeekly.com and is used here with permission."
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