Sunday, March 5th, was an exceptionally beautiful day for early spring in Western Pennsylvania. And for someone that doesn't go to the movies or even own a television, a matinee is the last place you'd typically find me.
However, on this day, that is where I was viewing a film that was far more than the latest Hollywood release. It was the 17th Annual International Angler's Fly Fishing Film Tour showing. A series of short films, each produced to profile a different part of the world, each with its own unique and, at times, personally moving story line.
The film covered the globe from Australia to New England, inspiring the desire to travel and delivering fun and uplifting messages. It was also a fundraiser for the non-profit Casting for Recovery, an organization founded in 1996 by a professional fly-fishing instructor, breast cancer surgeon, and breast cancer survivor. Combining the two is reason enough for me to give up a sunny afternoon any time of the year, even in Western Pa.
International Angler has been a privately owned fly fishing shop for several decades. My Grandfather shopped there when the store was located in Aspinwall. Today the shop has a convenient location right off the Crafton exit of I-79. They have been a world of help to me once I decided to start the fly fishing habit. Aside from being a supplier of top-notch equipment, they also host some top-notch trips. Friendly staff and charitable ownership make for a small business that is easy to support.
Research shows that there are many positive and healing qualities to time spent outdoors. Add those facts to the zen-like movements learned when fly fishing, and it's no wonder so many women find it therapeutic. The regional chapters of Casting for Recovery organized an annual retreat that is complete with much more than fly fishing instructions.
The environment encourages communication and bonding between those forced to face a mutual struggle. I would urge anyone touched by breast cancer and interested in the outdoors to learn more about the organization. More than one of the programs' participants used the term "life-changing" and transformative.
Last week was my first Fly Fishing Film Tour, but I know it won't be my last. I'm excited to learn more about Casting for Recovery and working with International Angler to support the film event and the program in 2024.