I was recently introduced to a couple of non-profit organizations that use Fly Fishing as a way of helping others. Two weeks ago I attended my first event for The May Fly Project and this week I was at Project Healing Waters. Fishing in general has been part of my life since I can remember. But it wasn’t until this past fall that my interest in fly fishing really started to grow. And after this spring I knew it was going to be a much bigger part of my life. It was a rather nasty Saturday in April. The temperatures were in the low 40’s and the forecast called for showers. Fishing wasn't on my schedule but I thought that just maybe the weather was keep some people at home. Turned out I was right. If its April in Western Pennsylvania its hard to get on the water and have it all to yourself. At least for this part of the day I was all alone. I even managed to catch several trout. As I was leaving (because I couldn’t feel my finger) I realized I hadn’t thought about a single thing but the task at hand for several hours. The attention to detail that is needed to be successful had totally consumed me. It was at that moment that I recognized the therapeutic nature of the art (I personally feel fly fishing is more of an art than a sport). If these organizations can bring that “feeling” to the communities they look to serve I’m not sure you could measure the degree of good they can do.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. This group really gets after it. Incorporating both fly tying and rod building into the program they offer the total experience. I had the opportunity to send some time with the local program coordinator, Amanda Thompson, and many of the guide/mentors. They were a fun, entertaining and seriously knowledgeable group. I’m already looking forward to seeing them again soon. They are definitely on “the list” for the newest “Project.”