- By: Joe Healy
Last spring, I traveled to two schools facing different circumstances in Maine but united by the interests and enthusiasm of their students. Rockland High, in Midcoast Maine, is one of the largest school systems in a thriving area and in one morning we taught fly-casting to more than 150 students. Lubec Consolidated, located in a sparsely populated coastal area, across a channel from New Brunswick (actually the Easternmost point in the U.S.), in Northeast Maine, has K through 12 and fewer than 150 students in the entire school; we spent a morning with about 40 students in this beautiful but struggling town.
But the students at both schools shared an unbridled enthusiasm to try something new—fly casting. And they appreciated hearing about the sport, and why we do what we do. Lots of wind knots, snapped leaders, snagged basketball hoops and rafters (we were casting in the gymnasiums of the schools), and one doomed rod tip...but about 200 students walked away with an appreciation for fly-fishing.
This kicked off Fly Rod & Reel's Fly-Fishing in Schools initiative. If school PE classes can include tennis, archery, weight-training, jogging...why not a healthy, aerobic, fun, confidence-building, outdoor-oriented sport like fly-fishing...(In the photo here, FR&R art director Chad Hughes instructs a Rockland student; photo courtesy of Daniel Dunkle / Herald Gazette.)
We'll be teaching at more schools in Maine (the home state of the magazine), with a goal to introduce a curriculum / lesson plan that any school—in Maine or elsewhere—can adopt. More to come...
Click below for coverage and a video of our visit on April 30 to Rockland High, from Knox County (ME) Village Soup, the local newspaper publisher...