Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Midway Progress Report - 4-H Fly Fishing Clinic

We're about midway through our 12 week 4-H Fly Fishing program, and it is going incredibly well.  I attribute our success to the overwhelming support of our volunteer experts from local fly fishing clubs, and the sharp, willing to learn young students.  The weather in Melbourne (Florida) this past weekend couldn't have been any better, although the fish weren't biting!  In spite of that, it will be a weekend to remember for a long time.  I am including below, a program summary for those interested in starting a similar program.


Photo credit: Kristen Sanderson
The University of Florida / Brevard County Extension 4-H Program has a goal to attract and teach one of the most challenging clientele bases for the program, the teenager.  It is also a programmatic desire to overlap with other Extension program areas, bring in subject matter experts and additional sources of funding. Partnering with a local fishing enthusiast group, small businesses, and Brevard County’s Marine Science Extension Agent, a 4-H program in Fly Fishing was developed.  Extension’s primary role was to capture the vision of the group and bring them together as a unified team. This six-month twelve session program involves seventeen boys ranging from age 12 to 17 and 13 adult volunteers.  Of the nearly 30 people involved in this program, only 5 have had previous experience in 4-H.  Learning the techniques of fly fishing is only one piece of the curriculum. Youth are also taught knot tying, the artistic form of creating your own flies to imitate insects and marine prey, wildlife conservation, and building lifelong friendships with fellow fly fishers. An evaluation process is in place to report on and expand this program.

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