New Outdoor Leadership Program – Hooked on Fishing!
September 10, 2022

The Light Foundation is beyond excited to roll out a new program, Hooked on Fishing! Although new to us, it is not new to the Darke County community, as its prior name was “Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs.” This program has been a blessing to our community for the past 14 years after being founded by the late John Winger.

You see, John had a love for fishing, a passion for youth, and a very giving heart! He partnered with Darke County Sheriff’s D.A.R.E. Officer, Donald Drew Senior; local avid angler, Bob Farmer; and with the support of many like-minded volunteers, they sailed the program for over a decade!

As the Program Director, I was approached by surviving board member Doug Brickley, who was hoping we could continue the popular program well into the future. The well-seasoned anglers knew this aligned well with our mission, as they have assisted us with our Fishing Family Fun Day through the LIGHT Project and during partnered programs that take place at Chenoweth Trails Pond.

We decided there is no better time than now to offer a leadership and fishing program in a larger scope! The already-well-attended program aligns with our mission and is the perfect opportunity for us to engage more youth in the outdoors!

But there is more… The Light Foundation has a unique person who’s well known in the community and eager to join us in taking this opportunity to the next level…. He loves the outdoors, enjoys educating the youth, has served the Darke County community for many years, he is quite a character and loved by many!

Are there any guesses on who will help lead the Hooked-on Fishing Program?!

He already volunteers with the annual Youth Wild Turkey Hunt, wears a cowboy hat, and can hoot like an owl!

It’s the famous Dwight Edwards also known as “Bufford!”

He will be there to help all ages from 5-17!

Light Leader’s will be the mentoring program within Hooked on Fishing. We incorporated it for ages 13-17, so they can assist the younger

generation while they build positive self-esteem, confidence, leadership skills, and find comfort in the outdoors. If you fall in this age range, love to fish, and are interested in more information on becoming a “Light Leader” email me at

Ages 5-12 will learn how to throw a cast, bait a hook, and, of course, reel in a big one under the guidance of the Light Leaders and long-time anglers. We will continue the curriculum by focusing on the importance of making wise decisions, conservation efforts, and hands-on leadership activities.

Come join us! The first event will kick off on September 24th from 10 am to noon at the shelter house on Iroquois Lake in Wayne Lakes. We will honor the late John, Donnie, Bob, and other members who made the past program a success.

We encourage families to attend and bring lawn chairs, refreshments, snacks and their own fishing poles if they have them. We will supply up to 50 fishing poles, fishing bait, and a few fun fishing activities!

The event is completely free! Thanks to grants received from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund and AES.

It’s going to be great fun! If you want to join us, RSVP here.


April Brubaker

Program Director

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