I’m proud to announce that I will be part of a new Kids On The Fly chapter being held in Northwest, NJ!
The art of fly tying, as with anything in life that we enjoy; is a never-ending learning experience which continues to grow right along with us as we get older. We find ourselves up all night spending countless hours behind the vise tying up patterns we hope will bring fish to our nets, fishing every minute we can, attending shows, watching seminars, asking questions and deciphering the answers, reading books and sifting through the history of what came before us; all while trying to retain what we have taken in so we can apply it to our own personal use on the water.
We have all seen first hand the positive influence that fly fishing has had on our own lives, anyone who has worked with/participated in PHWFF/Casting for Recovery or the many volunteer organizations which promote healing through tying and fishing; knows how much of an impact it really has. It creates and opens up a whole new world. Someone who once felt like they were alone, now has an entirely new community to converse with. Working with my Project Healing Waters chapter has repeatedly proven this time and time again with new participants. We also meet countless people in our travels, some of which turn into friendships with that stay with us throughout our lives. We even find that over time we have created these extended families that we look forward to seeing at events, that we laugh with and share stories.
How many times have you and your friends joked around saying things like ” I could be doing a lot worse things right now than mousing on the Delaware in the middle of the night”, “Well, there’s worse things that I could be addicted to than fishing”, “I can think of worse ways to spend $100 than tying material!”
Humans have addictive personalities, there is almost no way around it and you will see it everywhere you look. No matter if its good or bad, when its becomes addiction, your mind gets a hold of it and you will continue doing it. Then it will become hard to break it. We see it all the time and it comes in many forms; from the more socially acceptable types such as a caffeine, nicotine, fishing, exercising and social media addiction; to the ones which make someone immediately want to change the subject. That subject? The heroin epidemic that has been taking Americas youth by storm for quite some time.
Sadly Sussex County, New Jersey is no stranger to this. Every newspaper you look through shows the aftermath of drug use and you will be hard-pressed to meet someone who hasn’t been affected by it in someway or another; whether directly or indirectly. No matter where you live it seems to be creeping into communities across the map. While many people choose to simply ignore it hoping the problem will go away on its own, “not my problem. the cops will deal with it.” mentality; the bottom line is that the most effective way to fight it in my opinion, is to try and keep it from starting. It’s one hell of an problem at the moment and if you want to see a change in your community or anywhere for that matter; you cant sit back and wait for someone else to do it.
As we all know; kids of every age need support systems in and out of their homes as they go through their adolescent years. But that’s just one piece of the puzzle, because as important as it is having a supportive family around; they need will still need something to stimulate their mind when they are left alone with their own thoughts and boredom. They need something to look forward to, something that will make them think and problem solve, something that will occupy their creative minds the way it does ours when we get behind a vise or on the water. Passing along this knowledge and history to others is not only something that I enjoy; its something that I truly believe is a necessity for our youth in more ways than one. If you can plant a seed in the mind of a child who later finds themselves completely engulfed in the art of tying and fishing, maybe that will be the seed that continues to grow into something positive.
I hope that this Kids On The Fly- Northwest NJ chapter becomes one more program for our community to utilize when it comes to giving kids a better addiction to embrace.
Classes are free for kids and all materials and tools supplied! Classes will be held the 1st Saturday of the month at White Water Flies in Lafayette, NJ from 9am to 11:30am.
I would like to thank the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild for sponsoring this new chapter, Greg Becker from White Water Flies in Lafayette, NJ for allowing us to hold our monthly meetings in the fly shop! Please check out the Kids on the Fly Blog linked here to sign up for email alerts to be kept up to date.