The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) voted at its January 23rd quarterly meeting to create a voluntary $1 youth fishing license and to dedicate the revenue generated from it, and corresponding increases in federal reimbursement, to programs to increase youth fishing participation.
[Instructions for buying a Voluntary Youth License at the Outdoor Shop]
[Buy and redeem Voluntary Youth Fishing License Vouchers – Instructions for ordering, buying and redeeming vouchers]
So why spend $2.70 for a "free permit"? That doesn't make any sense! Well, in fact, it not only makes sense, it makes "cents" and even more importantly dollars for the PA Fish and Boat Commission to fund the recruiting, training and teaching of our youth in the ways of fishing. This is an investment towards igniting a spark in youth that could lead to a burning desire to choose fishing as a favorite activity for a lifetime of challenges, relaxation, traditions, friendships, family time and most importantly, fun!
Why not just offer a free license and collect the additional $5 of federal reimbursement, you say? Well, we checked and the only way this is allowed is if a fee is collected. A dollar is the minimum reasonable amount to collect. The remaining costs that total $2.70 are the issuing agents' fee of $1.00 and $0.70 surcharge that is required to use the Automated License System which is what makes it possible for someone to buy this license at all of the same stores and locations where regular fishing licenses are sold.
The Commission has committed to dedicating the proceeds of voluntary youth licenses back into youth programs. Depending on the popularity of this program, significant funds can be produced that will be used for teaching kids and their families how to fish, where to fish and how to select and use their gear properly. There will be opportunities to spread the word into schools, civic groups and neighborhoods in ways never before possible.
Once a voluntary youth license is purchased or a youth license voucher is redeemed, the individual will be assigned a unique customer identification number (CID). Having unique CIDs allows the PFBC to analyze license purchasing patterns and trends, tailor messages and programs, and correspond directly with customers.
Think about your own youth and the youth of tomorrow...make an investment in the future of fishing!