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Academy thank you! (Read 1140 times)
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Academy thank you!
May 9th, 2006, 7:23pm
I posted this report about the academy on several fishing forums I read and wanted to post it here as well.  Thanks to all involved!  The boys keep asking when we are going fishing.  
Those of us who fly fish often hear comments like how hard it is to learn how to fly fish, or about how fewer kids are taking up the sport, or about bad fishing practices we witness, or about the expense of the sport.  
My two boys, Sean and Conor, aged 10 and 11, recently had the great good fortune to be accepted to a flyfishing academy put on by the Santa Barbara Flyfishers.  What a wonderful way to give back to the sport and to start kids off on the right foot.  I wanted to write about this academy in part to thank those involved, but also as information for other fly fishing groups who might be interested in doing something similar.  
The academy was open to kids from 10-15 yrs. old; there was a short application form and 12 kids were chosen.  Part one took place over one weekend, 9-3 both Saturday and Sunday, where club volunteers broke them up into three or four groups and rotated them through stations where they learned things such as how to read the water (both from videos and from going out and looking at a nearby stream), knot tying, dos and doníts, fly tying (they each tied their own wooly buggers!), how to release fish, casting (both days), and so on.  One highlight was a visit from a fish and game officer.  Lunch both days was a bbq potluck supplied by club volunteers.  At the end of the weekend, the kids were each given a complete fly outfit consisting of a Redington RedFly 8í6Ē #5 weight rod, a Redington reel with backing, fly line and a leader, all set to go.  
Two weeks later a fishing outing was the final part of the class.  Once again, club volunteers showed up on the river, along with most of the kids, to help them catch their first trout on a fly.  A special stocking had been arranged with the DFG and some of the club members showed up near dawn to pretend to fish the area and reserve spots for the kids.  Almost all of the kids got their first fish, including my son Conor, but not Sean.  I think he might have to miss school on Friday for a little trip up to a local creek to remedy that!  
All in all this was a great opportunity for some kids to get some quality instruction from a group of men and women who are experts in the field of fly fishing.  There were so many volunteers that I canít even remember all of their names, to thank them properly, my apologies.  But, I must at least mention club president Jean Sedar, Terry Fernandez the Youth Committee Chair who organized the event, and Joe Margiotta from whom I learned of the event and who was also one of the many volunteers.  For anyone interested in more information about the club and/or this event, here is a link: http://www.sbflyfishers.com/index.htm.   Here are a few pictures from the academy.  
The kids favorite part was tying flies!

Sean at the bench

Conor on the right getting one on one instruction

Sean and Conor were chosen to be rangers in a skit and faced three bad guys who were littering, had no license and were using illegal gear.  Unfortunately, the gun belt was too big and kept falling down.  

Conorís first fish on a fly (Muddler Minnow), thatís me with him, Sean on the right.

Finally relaxing at the beach in Santa Barbara afterwards.  

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Re: Academy thank you!
Reply #1 - May 19th, 2006, 3:25pm
I don't think it could be said any better. †For all the things you have put forth and described in terms of your children's experience; those are reasons enough. †Most of us can recall our own childhood and the desire to learn something new, only to find out there was no forum or venue to pursue it. †You and your kids now have something you can do for most of your lives and have a common bond. †It's up to you now to take them fishing and continue what was started. †Have a blast!!
Thanks for the great pictures.  
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