The Mayfly Project is a 501(c)(3) organization that uses fly fishing as a catalyst to mentor children in foster care. Their mission is to build relationships with children in foster care through fly fishing and introduce them to their local water ecosystems, with a hope that connecting them to a rewarding hobby will provide an opportunity for foster children to have fun, feel supported, and develop a meaningful connection with the outdoors.
The Mayfly Project's standard program is to mentor a foster child through five sessions we call "stages", just like the life cycle of a Mayfly. Within these stages, the children learn line management, casting techniques, knot tying, some etymology, river safety, mending tactics, hook setting, catch and release tactics, and the value of conservation. At the end of the five stages the child is given his or her very own fly rod, reel, pack, fly box, flies, tippet, indicators, etc. Our hope is for the child to continue to pursue fly fishing and to have a tool to access the outdoors. Each project is unique and may contain more or fewer stages, but the goal is to provide a well-rounded and safe fly fishing experience for children in foster care.
Mentors are volunteers that have gone through an extensive background check, training, and ultimately are competent at working with children in foster care. Mentors are not there to be therapists, caseworkers, or even professional fly fishing guides, they are simply there to teach these children new fly fishing skills and provide a safe environment for them to flourish.
Fly fishing offers opportunities for youth to build character and self-esteem. Some say fly fishing can me meditative and causes the angler to forget their concerns as they focus in on their floating fly. For a foster child, taking a break from being worried and simply spending time in nature catching fish is essential.
On any given day there are approximately 415,000 children in foster care. 23,000 foster children age out of the foster care system each year, meaning they leave the foster care system with virtually no support and are left on their own
1 out of 5 foster children will become homeless after the age of 18.
The Foster the Rise 2-Fly Tournament Benefiting The Mayfly Project is a Rose River Farm Syria, Virginia, Sunday, October 28. For more information on the Foster, the Rise 2-Fly tournament or sponsorship opportunities contact Mollie Simpkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.