EDUCATION COMMITTEE REPORT
Our main activity to date has been the operation of our Veteran's First Fly Fishing program. Veterans First Fly Fishing (VFFF) is a sub-committee of the NCCFFF Education Committee which was established at the NCCFFF Board of Directors meeting in June, 2011. Designed and headed by board member Ken Brunskill, VFFF has held numerous workshops and outings, helps needy veterans obtain the special tools they may need, and arranges for coaches and instructors from participating FFF clubs. The NCCFFF has been very active in supporting and teaching our disabled veterans. For example, disabled veterans are given a free FFF membership upon application.
In addition to teaching fly tying, casting, and fishing to disabled veterans, the purpose of VFFF is to raise funds, collect equipment and organize fly fishing events for the vets. A key tool for the VFFF fly tying program is the Evergreen Hand. It is a device where a fly can be tied with one hand; the tool essentially becomes the hand holding the material. It was initiated by a group of FFF folks in the Evergreen Fly Fishing Club in Everett, Washington and has been a work in progress ever since, with many variations and additions being added all the time. Building on the initial development in Washington State, Mission Peak Fly Anglers and Ken Brunskill have developed numerous tools for distribution through the VFFF Facebook page.
VFFF has the distinction of conducting fly fishing oriented workshops in one of the largest VA regions in the country, the Veterans Administration's Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS). Fortunately the program enjoys enthusiastic support from their Recreational Therapy department. VAPAHCS is a leader in the mental health care of our veterans, and together with VFFF they have witnessed positive change in the participating veterans.
Volunteers from five NCCFFF clubs are conducting regular VFFF fly fishing workshops in four different locations. The clubs are: Mission Peak Fly Anglers; Diablo Valley Fly Fishers; Peninsula Fly Fishers; Tri Valley Fly Fishers; Davis Fly Fishers, and Tracy Fly Fishers. In early June VFFF conducted three terrific outings where 12-25 veterans of all abilities were able to go fishing.
Plans are currently underway to start the first disabled veterans FFF charter fly fishing club at the Veterans Administration's Menlo Park facility. Since all disabled vets automatically receive FFF membership, it should be simple and is on track. Once details such as articles, by laws, and approval by the FFF and the VA are completed, the new Veterans and Mentors Fly Fishing Club should become a reality. We hope that VA and FFF approvals come soon, and that this club will be the first of many fly fishing clubs, by veterans, for veterans.
The VFFF Committee members designed a unique fly as their club logo and Gene Kaczmarek tied a beautiful specimen. The nine member Committee includes FFF Board members Derrell Bridgman, Anne-Marie Bakker, Gerry Ng, Ron Forbes, and myself, and serves as an advisory group for VFFF.
Recently VFFF clinics were held at the Livermore VA Out Patient & CLC on Wednesday, at the San Jose VA on Thursday, and at the Menlo Park VA facility on Friday.
This fall and winter will be an active time for our Education Committee, who will run our Learning Center at the following venues:
|September 30/Oct 1, 2, 2011||El Dorado Sportsmen's Expo||Placerville, CA|
|Oct. 7, 8, 2011||NCCFFF Festival of Fly Fishing||Sparks, NV|
|Jan. 19, 20, 21, 22, 2012||International Sportsmen's Expo (ISE)||Sacramento, CA|
|Feb. 24, 25, 26, 2012||The Fly Fishing Show||Pleasanton, CA|
At all these shows our Learning Center will feature fly casting and fly tying instruction, rigging and entomology exhibits, and support for our Trout In The Classroom and Veterans First Fly Fishing (VFFF) programs. Volunteers assisting us in the learning Center will receive free admission to the show on the day(s) they're working.