Zach Shambles, a teacher at Pryor Public Schools, is collecting fishing poles to give to kids in time for summer.
Shambles said he noticed the kids were better at electronics than he is and he wanted to encourage them to go outside.
“I’m really hoping this will help kids not get too absorbed in playing on an Xbox or phone,” he said. “Instead, they’ll go outside and play and make friends and have competitions of who can catch the biggest fish. Go out and have fun instead of being inside all the time.”
Shambles began saving up and buying fishing poles six months ago. The original goal was 50 poles.
Shambles posted about his challenge on Facebook and the next morning Shambles said he woke up to a large interest from the community.
Shambles said Nabatuk, Atwoods, Zebco, and individuals have donated to the fishing pole challenge.
Shambles increased the goal to 300.
Shambles said he didn’t expect the challenge to grow as much as it has.
“I didn’t expect to have new poles,” he said. “I expected them all to be used.”
Shambles said he is very grateful for all the donations.
“Thank you to everyone who has donated,” he said.
The fishing poles will be handed out at 3 p.m. June 6 at Flex Fitness.
There will be a set-up station where he will teach kids how to use their fishing poles.
Each child will receive one fishing pole, two bobbers and two hooks.
Growing up, Shambles said he was very poor.
“One thing I always had was fishing,” he said. “I think I caught my first fish when I was 4. I showed all my friends how to fish and it was something cheap we could do.”
Shambles and his friends would spend time digging in the dirt searching for worms or trying to catch grasshoppers and frogs for bait.
“As long as we had a hook, a bobber and a fishing pole, we always had something we could do that wasn’t a video game or going out and doing something stupid,” he said. “A fishing pole was a cheap, easy way that would go out and have fun.”
This challenge was a way for Shambles to not only encourage kids to spend time outdoors, but to also show others that he cares.
“I feel like people don’t care about people anymore,” he said. “I know it sounds really weird. I just want other people to know that there are other people out there that care about them. Whether their poor or rich, race doesn’t matter, it’s just something to be able to help other people.”