AJOI goes ice fishing for the arts

When Action jeunesse de l’ouest de l’île (AJOI) CEO, Ben Langevin told The Suburban in November that they could do more than their park and open gym program, he meant it. Last Sunday, AJOI held its first ever ice fishing fundraiser to start the ball rolling towards opening up community art programs for adolescents ages 12-25 on the West Island.

“What started out as a team builder exercise for those at AJOI, became a full blown fundraising event,” Langevin told The Suburban in an interview, “I was not expecting the enthusiasm, but we got the sponsorship of BMW West Island and an iPod donated from a private donation to be won during the ice fishing tournament.”

The cost to attend the event included a $7 ticket to take a car load onto the ice and a $7 permit to fish. AJOI then offered the fishing hole, rod and bait at a cost of $20, $5 for an extra hole. The event offered hot dogs and drinks and skidoo runs. The event netted $1,000.

In order to win the tournament in -30º on-ice temperature, each fish retrieved valued garnished points. Perch = 5 points. Dore = 10 points. Pike = 15 points. Random, less common fish were worth 20 points.

“This will benefit the kids and expose people to my favourite hobby at the same time,” Langevin explained.

“My goal is to get the arts division of AJOI off the ground. We have the sports side of things going strong but not everyone is sports minded. Adolescents need an artistic outlet,” he continued,” artistic activities should be available to everyone.”

According to Langevin, AJOI’s philosophy is by the kids for the kids. He would like to take AJOI into the arts and culture domain. Last year in Pierrefonds, AJOI tried an art expression activity that wound up in a vernissage. Some of the work from that event can be seen hanging in the AJOI offices today.
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