Calumet Stewardship Initiative

Fishin' Buddies

The Fishin’ Buddies Vision continues…Thanks to the Founding Members our many sponsors, active members and partners…Founded September 21, 1991: John Kidd Jr., Andrea Kidd, Richard Wilborn, Bob Long Jr., Julian A. Kidd (Youth Member)

The Story…

John Kidd, Jr., born and raised in Chicago, businessman, educator, and father is the founder and President of the“Fishin’ Buddies!”  Inc. a Chicago based 501c3 non-for-profit organization dedicated to introducing urban children to the outdoors through fishing contests and derbies, and conservation and environmental education programs and events.

John Kidd Founded Fishin’ Buddies! along with wife Andrea Kidd, Richard Wilborn, Bob Long Jr. and son Julian A. Kidd in September of 1991 with its first Youth fishing derby held at Wolf lake (Williams Powers State Park on Chicago’s far southeast side), “Fishin’ Buddies!” has taken thousand of kids fishing who would never otherwise have had the opportunity.

“The feeling one gets from being on the water, in the wind, in the sun, breathing, feeling, soaking in Mother nature’s bounty while fishing, is extremely tough to explain,” said Mr. Kidd. “It is heaven on us, sanctuary, peace and rejuvenation. The feeling must be real as more Americans fish than any other one single activity in this country.”

“I knew, these were feelings that City kids desperately needed, but weren’t getting or likely to get. So, if you see and need, fill it.”

Starting in 1995 “Fishin’ Buddies!” with a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service included Conservation and Environmental Education programming to their list of services offered. That year they hired twelve young men and women from Chicago high schools, age 15 to 18 to work as “Fishin’ Buddies!” Conservation Kids. They were involved in Fishin’ Buddies! Efforts to adopt and rehab Beaubien Woods of the Cook County Forest Preserve District. Working with the Cook County Forest Preserves,  Forestry, Land and Fisheries department, “Fishin’ Buddies!” Conservation Kids conducted bio-diversity assessments, cleared invasive species, plant indigenous Prairie plants and worked to clean Flatfoot Lake of man-made debris, analyze aquatic life and conduct fish stocking programs. Through this community/government partnership Beaubien Woods is a thriving part of the Forest Preserve District system.

The strategic alliances formed between the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and many other local environmental agencies has afforded Fishin’ Buddies the ability to spark a change in the lives of thousands of Chicago area at-risk youth.

“Fishing is the icing on a very deep cake,” says Kidd. “Land, water, and air work together to make the Earth the marvelous supporter of life that it is. I want the kids to know the joy of that; from fishing, to working on the land, to learning about it in the classroom and in the field. After 20 years, I can see we’ve made a real good start. There’s more, much more to be done.”


The FB Mission:

Fishin’ Buddies! mission is to train children through fishing and conservation programs.
To help instill a deep, abiding love for the sublime art of sport fishing. To instill an immutable concern for the air, land and waters of our planet, and a desire to nurture the soul through communion with the outdoors.


Our Philosophy:

Fishin’ Buddies! believes in the emotional and psychological restorative powers of the outdoors.
We believe it is important to expose this philosophy to children who’s ideal of the “Great Outdoors” as being the grassless, glass strewn, debris filled, concrete and steel playgrounds of urban America.


Our Core Objectives:

To introduce children to nature
To introduce children to science
To show learning can be fun
To show children the magic of life all around us
To mentor those in need
To laugh, giggle and play
To catch some fish along the way


Our Motto:

If I give a man a fish, then he will eat for that day; If I teach a man how to fish, then he will eat forever.


For questions or assistance please contact:

Julian Kidd 
9946 South Halsted 
Chicago, IL 60628 
[email protected] 

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