Annual fishing trip has been ‘amazing’ event for 31 years

Today in Gompers’ hallways, the story is about the one that didn’t get away as members talked about their trout-fishing experience in Sedona this weekend.

“I liked catching a big fish, and it was a good time,” Gompers member Oriana Sanchez said, spreading her hands 10 inches apart to indicate the size of her catch. “It was fun.”

“I could feel the fish wiggle on the line,” added Adam Gabriel, another of 27 individuals with developmental disabilities who went on the trip. “I enjoyed the day a lot.”

approaching sedona

Sponsored by the Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Lions Club, the annual trip to Sedona’s Rainbow Trout Farm has occurred every October for the past 31 years. Every year, it is the goal to take a group of members from Gompers — including participants from its Day Training Program, Employment Services and Private School — who have not previously enjoyed the experience.

trout ready to grill cropped

“It’s a great event and both our members and staff look forward to it every year,” noted Gompers Director of Programs and Services Scott Muller, who oversaw this year’s trip. “The Lions volunteers were gracious as they always are in welcoming our people, and they grilled the freshly caught trout for everyone to enjoy at lunch.”

“I liked catching my fish, but I ate a hot dog instead,” Gabriel added.

Lunch was followed by team games like the three-legged race, sack race and a egg-and-spoon race before Gompers’ member said their goodbyes and returned home.

“This is one of the highlights of our year,” noted Jim Graif, a Lions Club member who organizes the annual event. “We owe a big ‘thank you’ to Sedona’s Rainbow Trout farm, which donates use of its facility each year for this outing.”

chris masters egg race cropped

Gompers member Christopher masters the egg-and-spoon race.

“We cannot thank the Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Lions Club enough for the amazing job they do in organizing this event every year, and for the care and dedication they show to our members,” Gompers Executive Director Mark Jacoby said. “This event means so much to everyone at Gompers but, to be honest, sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s enjoying themselves more: Gompers’ staff and members, or the Lions Club.

“It is hard to believe that the fishing trip has been going for more than 30 years and yet the Lions Club always finds a way to make each year’s event more special than the year before.”