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The Mayfly Project

September 12, 2023

Flyfishing in August in Western Pennsylvania may sound out of place. However, the regional Mayfly Project fundraiser is an excellent time of year. 

If there is an off-season for flyfishing guides in Southwest PA, the dog days of summer would be one of them. Each August, many of the region’s guides have gathered in Butler County for the past three years, volunteering their time and expertise to support this transformative program. 

If you are unaware of The Mayfly Project, it is a 501 c3, and the organization’s mission is to build relationships with children in the foster care system through fly fishing. With the hope of connecting them to the sport and providing them with an opportunity to have fun and connect with the outdoors. They also offer a 1:1 mentor ratio through a series of sessions called “a project.” 

A “Project” usually consists of 5 mentoring sessions where children learn about flyfishing and conservation. All with the added mental health benefits of time outdoors. At the end of their “Project,” the children are given the equipment they need to continue flyfishing. The “Projects” curriculum is all-encompassing, even supplying the kids with the tools they need to learn to tie flies, workbooks to support lessons, and achievement buttons to encourage continued learning. Most importantly, they leave with positive memories from their time exploring and engaging in the outdoors.

I’ve been fortunate to attend two of the three events near my home in Butler County over the past several years. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn from local and regional guides. Remember when I said it was their off-season? The event is a rare chance to learn from some of the region’s most experienced and professional fly anglers - combine that with an opportunity to make new friends and support a great cause. I feel it’s always been time well spent.

The fishing was challenging this year, but I did land an informative casting lesson. There is no end to learning when it comes to the sport of flyfishing. More importantly, I built some new relationships, and I’m very excited about becoming a more prominent supporter of the organization next year. 

Hearing the stories from the mentors about the transformation of some of the children they have worked with was inspirational and motivating. This “Project” can make a difference in the children’s lives it touches. You can expect to see more news about The Mayfly Project in the future as we create fun ways to support this fantastic organization. 

If you’d like to learn more about The Mayfly Project, its mission, future events, or how to donate, go to themayflyproject.com.

Sincerely, 

Brian Pitell 

BPG Planning