About 10 people were seen hurling metal rakes at Cheadle Lake on Sept. 3.

An equal number of people waded in the water to catch the rakes. They were there to clear weeds from the lake. They were part of a group of students in the Community Services Consortium YouthBuild program.

Clearing the weeds will allow for better fishing access along the banks, said Karen Hans, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fish biologist, who helped organize the project. The students were making an effort to clear an area near a disabled fishing platform to allow access for disabled and youth anglers.

Clearing the lake of weeds won’t help the fish; however, it won’t harm them either, Hans said.

“The fish don’t need any help,” she said.

Armand Schoppy, teacher and crew leader of the Community Services Consortium YouthBuild program, organizes one service project each month. The other service projects include building or restoring single family houses.

While working with the YouthBuild program, students learn various construction skills, and also may earn skill certifications in areas such as first aid, he said.

“A number of the youth have gotten certification for duct testing and their CPR certification,” Schoppy said.

Clearing weeds in a lake may not provide the students with as many job skills as building a house, but they were able to speak with Hans about fish biology, and what that job entails, Schoppy said.

“Mostly it’s teamwork, hard work and a little bit of fun,” he said.

This is the second time the YouthBuild students cleared weeds at Cheadle Lake, Schoppy said.

After clearing the weeds in August near a boat dock, a family went fishing and left with a stringer of Bluegill fish, he said.

Schoppy called Hans looking for a water-related service project, Hans said.

“I immediately thought of Cheadle Lake as a lost angling opportunity,” Hans said. “We encourage people to come out here and enjoy fishing.”

Meet the students

Kayla Sherwood, 21, of Lebanon, was one of the students clearing weeds.

She earned her General Education Development diploma with the YouthBuild program about eight months ago.

Sherwood plans to attend Linn-Benton Community College later this month to study culinary arts, she said. Sherwood wants to pursue that course of study because she enjoys cooking dinner for her 4-year-old daughter.

Also through the YouthBuild program, Sherwood received her CPR certification, First Aid certification and lead-based paint certification, she said.

Before working with the YouthBuild program, Sherwood worked with the garden crew at the CSC.

“It’s a really good program for any one who wants to get job training,” Sherwood said.

Sherwood said she enjoyed enhancing the lake for the area.

“It’s a good way to help out the community, and see people fish here,” Sherwood said.

Christopher Tyhurst, 20, of Lebanon, said cleaning the weeds wasn't as enjoyable as other YouthBuild projects, but he did enjoy improving fishing access.

Tyhurst plans to attend Concorde Career Colleges to study respiratory therapy, but what he really wants to do is be a professional musician, he said.

Tyhurst earned his GED certificate in December 2013.

Getting his GED is why he signed up for the YouthBuild program, he said.

“(The program) gives kids other options they might not see otherwise,” Tyhurst said.

Contact reporter Matt DeBow at 541-259-3126 or via email at Matt.DeBow@lee.net.

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