Donated fly rods for TU’s Headwaters Youth Programhave been arriving at my Asheville TU office in all manner of packages: rectangular, round, square, triangular…heptagonal (just kidding). Some rods are given “priority” treatment in order to arrive, while others tumble road-weary out of a package-jammed UPS truck. But regardless of how they arrive, each rod has come to TU for one reason: to be put into the hands of a young up-and-coming angler. We want those who can’t afford a rod to be able to fish. We want them to dream of perfect casts, hungry fish and spectacular streams.
As director of the Headwaters Youth Program, I have the unique and completely awesome job of helping to make that kind of dream happen. The goal of Headwaters is to create a “stream of engagement” (pun intended) for youth, starting around age eight and extending into their college years. Along the way, we offer them a chance to learn to fly cast and tie flies at one of TU’s many summer fly fishing camps. We also hope that, as teenage TU members, they get active in their local chapter and help take care of their community’s stream and rivers.
But we can’t do this work by ourselves. We need corporate partners like Orvis to step in and help the next generation of anglers. That’s how Orvis came up with the idea of the rod swap and sought out TU as its partner.
During the month of July, Orvis stores across the country are offering customers a chance to take 20 percent off the price of a new rod if they donate their used ones to TU’s Headwaters Youth Education Program. These used but completely functional rods will then be given to disadvantaged youth participating in TU’s summer fly fishing camps, the Trout in the Classroom program, and in other fishing education programs sponsored by our chapters.
Find out how you can donate a rod to Headwaters by visiting the Orvis Rod Swap Site. And if you happen to visit an Orvis store sometime soon, be sure and thank them for helping TU deliver the dream to the next generation.