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What do Archery, Junior Anglers, Summer Basketball and Free Lunch Fridays have in common? They are all activities sponsored by the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club. All four of these activities for kids occur at the City of Sanibel Recreation Center during the summer months.

Archery is a recent addition to the Rec Center’s summer program for kids. The San-Cap Optimists work with the Rec Center Staff to provide the equipment for kids to learn the fundamentals of archery and to appreciate the skill required for this sport.

The Junior Anglers is a popular, ongoing fun activity for 20 kids at a time to learn about fishing and to practice the art once a week on Mondays during the summer period. The kids are divided into two groups, 5-6 graders and 7-8 graders, who fish on alternate weeks.

Members of the Optimist Club and of the Rec Center Staff take the kids fishing both on shore and on several boat trips where they polish up their techniques. Bailey’s General Store provides the live bait and Tarpon Bay Explorers provide equipment, boats and staff. At the end of the summer, the Optimist Club holds a fun cook-out on the causeway beach for the kids and the staff.

The Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club is again sponsoring its Junior Optimist Angler Society for kids.  In the photos, Optimist Club member Dani Howard helps a novice angler learn how, and volunteer Lee Steinbecker helps another junior show off her “winning” catch.

Many thanks go to the sponsors:  Bailey’s General Store, Tarpon Bay Explorers and Adventures in Paradise, as well as members of the Optimist Club and volunteers.

Another recent addition to summer at the Rec is kids’ basketball, the “Sanibel Storm” team. Kids from K-8 grades participate. The Optimist Club provides uniforms and an awards banquet at the end of the season.

During the summer Rec programs for kids, the Optimist Club underwrites the cost of pizzas for the long-running Free Lunch Fridays. Island Pizza prepares and delivers about a dozen pizzas each Friday. This fun meal has been a San-Cap Optimist Club tradition for a number of years.
In addition to sponsoring summer Recreation Center programs for kids, the Optimist Club maintains six four-year scholarships for graduated seniors from Lee County high schools. These scholarships are financed by fund-raising activities, especially the 4th of July Road Rally. The 36th version of this longest 4th of July tradition on Sanibel will be held this coming 4th of July. Watch for announcements in the coming weeks.

Jr Anglers
Jr Anglers