It’s not often enough that a boy gets to embrace the fine art of poking a filet knife into the gut of a catfish. And young girls can never have too many chances to prepare a feast for 40. So with that in mind, the CWE365 Mentoring program planned February’s “Free Fun Fish Fry in February.” There was plenty of fish and fun to be had.
The mentoring program aims to host events for it’s mentoring matches (a mentor and a student) once a quarter. The events are a fun way to remind mentors of the community surrounding them and introduce students to peers who are also mentored. Additionally, it provides an exciting and well-planned activity to matches that they wouldn’t be able to experience otherwise.
February 25th surely brought a new experience to the matches! After learning about the miraculous feeding of over 5000 people by Jesus in the Bible, guys and girls were broken into groups. The men traveled outside to learn to ropes catching live catfish with their bare hands and filleting them into scrumptious portions. Ladies had a long list of delicious recipes to learn to accompany the grilled and fried catfish being prepared. Both groups worked in a series of teams to see the meal to fruition. As the catfish sizzled outside, baked macaroni and cheese became bubbly in the oven. The guys rolled the hushpuppies into perfect bite sized shapes and the girls smashed roasted red skinned potatoes into mouth watering mashed potatoes. Bread, several chocolate pies and banana pies and gallons of sweet tea and lemonade finished the spread. Everything looked incredible. As mentors and students sat down to their feast, conversations blossomed over plates of warm, rich smelling food. It wasn’t long before the notion of “seconds” came up, and quite a few attendees added an extra hushpuppy or scoop of mac and cheese to their plates! “I loved watching the kids’ faces as they realized the food everyone was eating was what they just cooked themselves,” mentoring intern Jessica Hawley spoke of the meal.
The outing ended with a few fun giveaways fitting to the theme- fishing poles and kitchen items- and a word of thanks and encouragement from CWE365 staff members Brent Jensen and Hannah Cypert.
All in all, it was a great day of learning new and useful skills, and strengthening a growing mentoring community. “My mentee Maddie and I had a blast learning how to cook several items… It was great to see her learn a new and practical skill that she enjoyed and had fun doing,” Mentor and University of Arkansas student Jillian Sharp said. Matt Noetzel, Ozone staff member said, “If you just teach a man to fish but not to prepare it, he’ll be eating raw fish for the rest of his life. But now that we know how to cook a fish, we’ll eat delicious fish for a lifetime!”