The Memorial Fund
The Bryan V. Kerchal Memorial Fund was established in December of 1994. The fund began with overwhelmingly generous donations received from the people whom Bryan's life had touched. His passion for fishing, his commitment to his dream, his natural desire to share his enthusiasm with others (especially children) and his humility are the qualities that endeared Bryan to so many. His legacy as a role model will live on through the Memorial Fund as it promotes fishing activities that encourage young people to find those same qualities within themselves.
Contributions made to the Memorial Fund were used to promote a variety of youth fishing programs. Some of these programs target children that would not normally have the opportunity to fish. Since the inception of the Fund, funds have been distributed to programs from Connecticut to California, such as Jimmy Crisp's School of Fishing in Mooresburg, Tennessee, and Hooked on Fishing, Not Drugs in Chico, California.
The Junior Bassmasters Invitational tournament series (which was initiated in Maryland in 1996 and for which the Fund was the financial sponsor) was open to any state that could provide a team made up of members from its own junior Federation bass clubs. Invitationals have been held annually from 1996 through 2003. We believe that these events promoted the formation of junior bass clubs and consequently supported the expansion of the Federation youth program. In 2004, ESPN/BASS agreed to take over the Junior Bassmasters Invitational program and the Junior Bassmasters National Championship tournament, previously sponsored by the Fund. The Invitationals became Divisional tournaments along the same structure as the adult BASS Federation program and the National Championship tournament became the Junior Bassmaster World Championship tournament. This development provided greater exposure and awareness of the importance of youth fishing programs.
Bryan's Fishing Camp was started in Connecticut in the summer of 1998. The camp ran for two weeks under the auspices of the Great Hollow Wilderness School and the Regional YMCA. The first week was a day camp and the second week was a residential camp. Fifty-eight children, ages 7 to 15, attended during the two weeks, free of charge. All costs were covered by the Memorial Fund. The children benefit from the expertise and guidance of bass anglers who donate their time and the use of their bass boats. This program continued each summer, with the day and the residential camp combined, until 2007.
Objectives of the camp included: