More on working with youth

14 02 2008

The more I work at the juvenile center the more I like being there. The youth are very needy, and once you start to develop a relationship with them, you want to see how they are doing and holding up within their personal programs and goals. You watch them grow and then have relapses back into old behaviors. What seems like really childish behavior usually has a hidden reason behind it. Most of the time it is a matter of a family issue. The youth don’t always have the emotional capacity to open up about their problems, and that is why they act out with irrational behavior. It is not until they calm down and realize that their behavior was very child-like, that they open up to you. Then you get a true look into their character, because they are at their most vulnerable state. It is amazing to watch, because you get to see them admit their faults, and move from an immature or adolescent state of mind, into a more mature and adult-like mind. It is wonderful to see when they realize that you really do care for their well-being and emotional development.


The excitement of Musky fishing!

11 02 2008


Muskies have a strong, thick body that enables them to move through the water very quickly, and very efficiently. They strike fiercely and have tremendous torque that allows their bodies to pull on a rod and reel quite hard. These fish are known for their explosive acrobatics, and it is an well known fact to many Musky anglers that once you catch one you are hooked for life.

This is the case for both my father and me. We are hooked on these fish and the total amount of dollars spent on tackle and equipment is approaching $10,000. It was once a hobby that quickly turned into an obsession and once you feel the power of a Musky, you will never look back.


What does Musky fishing consist of?

10 02 2008

muskie-2.jpgMy name is Justin Gagola and I am avid Musky fisherman. I have fished this illusive species for the majority of my life, and I think this summer will be the 17th year I have been chasing muskies. You may ask what is so hard about fishing for Muskies compared to other species of fish, and the answer I would have to give you is that it takes tremendous amounts of time, and though you may put hours and hours in on the water, you chances of catching a Musky are still very slim.

This species of fish is not abundant like many other species of fish like Walleye, Perch, panfish, ect.. and that is why the Muskie is so difficult to catch. There are a number of effective ways to catch muskies. The most common method is standing up in a boat and casting a lure hudreds and maybe even thousands of times before catching a fish. This method is grueling and can play hell on your back, arms, legs, and hands, but us deicated Musky maniacs will put up with all of these symptoms if it means we have a shot at a 50-plus incher. While novices find any size Musky a feat of its own, we true Musky anlgers are always looking for one of 50 inches or over.

Another way to catch Muskies is much easier and takes little to no effort to do is fishing with a big bobber, with a big sucker hanging underneath free-floating in the water. Many Musky fisherman regard this method as the lazy man’s way and therfore frown on it. I myself have seldom used this tactic for that same reason.

The last method that has a great impact on your sucess rate is that of trolling. Trolling can be very effective and it lets you relax while fishing. The fish in this picture was caught while trolling in late October of 2007 on Cass Lake. There is a difference though when trolling for Muskies as compared to trolling for Walleyes or some other species. For Walleyes, the speed at which you troll tends to be anywhere from 1- 2.5 mph. For Muskies the normal trolling speed is anywhere from 4-7mph. Trolling is starting to become more in our go to plan with every fish we catch using this method. Musky fishing is based on confidence and whatever method gives that confidence is the one you tend to stick with and go back to over and over again.

Working with young adults

8 02 2008

I find it amazing as to how young adults act in certain situations. When their pride or toughness is put to the test they always take a route where they overreact to prove that they are cool or whatever you may call it. There may have been some situations when I was younger where this type of behavior was evident, but I see the same young adults choose the same reactions over and over again. It makes me wonder whether these actions are their genuine feelings or if it is all a contrived act. The latter of the two is what I lean on the majority of the time, and it is what most corrections workers call putting up a front. Instead of talking out their feelings, the youth take to aggressive behavior and continually put themselves in bad situations. Its amazing how hard it is to get some of these youths to open up to you and convey their feelings, but once you do the intrinsic rewards are fantastic. Once you make these indivduals admit their wrongdoings there is a light that comes on in them that is a wonderful thing to sit back and watch. These young adults continually grow on you and the need for you to be near them grows in you also. This really is probably the only job I have ever had where I actually look forward to going to work.

“Perfect Images” another poem by me

4 02 2008

The light glistened over the lake, creating a perfect reflection.
A mirror-like image appearing before my very eyes,
Only for that image to completely vanish.
A vague recollection of all that happens in life,
To be there for a second, only to see it dissipate.
We search for these subtleties in everyday life,
But never seem to find the ones we so need.
A never ending battle that can by no means be won.
Finding that ever illusive image can be very challenging,
And to find it is what we all strive to do.

“Provocation of Thoughts” a poem by me

4 02 2008
As I lay here in the darkness of the night,
The thoughts dwelling around in my head erupt.
Thoughts jolt out from every direction,
Looking for my soul to capture them.I ponder on which of these thoughts have meaning,
Only to resolve that they are only there to pluck at me.
Thoughts that provoke me to stay awake,
As if they deserve my attention.Maybe I am looking for that one great theme,
To complete who I am as a person.
Maybe we all look for that one great theme,
Striving for something more than we really are.

As I lay here in the darkness of the night,
The thoughts dwelling around in my head erupt.
Thoughts jolt out from every direction,
I close my eyes, with one last sigh, all is silent!

Becoming a teacher

30 01 2008

Becoming a teacher is something that brought a lot of fear to me for a long time, but  as I get closer and closer and gain experience through college coursework and working at a juvenile corrections facility, that fear is dwindling more and more everyday.

The young adults that I work with definitely have problems, but as you start to establsih trust in your working relationship with them, you start to realize  that they really are good people that have seemingly fallen off the right path. What I try to do as a corrections officer is try and make them realize that the mistakes they made don’t have to be made twice. I tell them that life is about choices, and though most choices are very hard, the rewards of making a good choice as compared to a bad one are neverending.

I was skeptical when I first started this job, but it seems as though the kids grow on  you, and instead of dreading going to work, I look forward to going to work. It is fun to see young adults correct their wrong behaviors, and actually try and contribute to society. I know that not all of those young adults will, but I truly know that some will and knowing I am a part of that makes a person feel good!