Sioux Lookout Anglers and Hunters club continues work to give back to community
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
A passing of the torch for the Sioux Lookout Anglers and Hunters (SLAH). Cory Lago, who served as the club’s president for more than 12 years, stepped down from the role on October 1, 2020.
Longtime club member Jeremy Funk was acclaimed SLAH president at the club’s virtual AGM on April 15.
Funk, who has been a club member for over a decade, said, “Me and Cory, the former president, are close friends, and most of what the club has done in the last 10 years, we’ve done together. So, it was a very natural step when Cory decided to step down, that I would step up.” He added, “The Anglers and Hunters have a long standing tradition here…and when me and Cory got involved, we were younger bloods and some life was breathed into the club, and we were able to prosper and do a lot of things.”
Lago, a municipal councillor, said that he always led the group with the intent of giving back to the community. “I just hope that they have a vision, and they will forward that vision, and that they can get the volunteers they need to put on the events that they want to put on. I wish them nothing but success. I am still a member of the club, and I always will be a member. I believe in what they do and what they provide for our community.” He added, “I just happened to find a different goal, and I’m moving on with that, trying to give back to the community in a different way.”
Funk shared that the pandemic impacted their group’s operations in the past year. He said, “COVID was not good for the group. A lot of our events had to be cancelled. We couldn’t have some of our things that we normally do. Like, our Walleye Weekend is huge…that was cancelled last year. Our (annual potluck) dinner was a big social event for us and that was cancelled last year due to COVID. We definitely felt the COVID sting, so to speak, and we are looking at coming out of it better and stronger than we were. I think because of the focus of our group, we are going to be able to do that, once COVID restrictions are relaxed.”
Funk said that as restrictions loosen, he is hoping to continue operating their outdoor archery range north of town, conduct outdoor education opportunities, barbecues and cookouts, training events, open houses, along with running some events. “We’ll try to do the best we can to get active members into the community here,” he added.
Lago shared that the group initiated an affiliation with Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters in the early 2000’s. He added that in the past, the club essentially dealt with issues such as land and lake access. Lago said that he took over with a vision to offer more and give back to the community by organizing community events.
“We started off with a bass tournament during the Blueberry festival, back in probably around 2005, and that ran for three years,” said Lago. “From 2007 we started the Walleye Weekend and we kept a portion of the money raised, and from that we started doing other events in the community,” he added.
Funk shared that the Sioux Lookout Anglers and Hunters club was recognized by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters as the top club in Ontario in 2015 for all their activities and initiatives, which he is extremely proud of. Funk said, “People who come to Sioux Lookout, a lot of them are largely here for hunting and fishing opportunities, and the club capitalizes on that, we encourage it. We help youth get into these sports and to learn and with all the various weekend events to engage people who aren’t necessarily well-versed in the outdoors, to get out and enjoying it.”