Although there are myriad organizations across the country that promote fishing, one of the fastest growing is called Fishing’s Future, which was founded with the simple mission of getting kids and parents together outdoors.
Founded in 2004 by Shane Wilson, the non-profit has a solid track record for helping create profound changes in families by reconnecting kids and their parents through outdoors pursuits.
“The two fish in our logo—two F’s—are embracing. While most assume this stands for ‘Fishing’s Future’ it’s really ‘families forever.’ Families that embrace, stay together. That is the main purpose of our organization. And we use the fishing component to do that,” says Wilson.
In a world inundated with smart phones, video games and other electronic media, what Wilson and volunteers are doing is not only great for getting kids and parents communicating via physical outdoors activities—it’s laying the groundwork for the future of the sport.
“Our social structure is breaking up—go out to dinner and watch families interact. Nobody’s talking. Everybody’s looking at their cell phones. But when families are fishing they’re communicating. When that bobber goes down, it’s a moment that can’t be compared, an opportunity for bonding that really doesn’t happen in other sports, sitting on the sidelines.”
Currently, Fishing’s Future chapters are in 15 states, and in 2014 more than 680 volunteers logged 9,000 volunteer hours working with kids and parents. More impressive are statistics that point to a 42-percent minority participation. School districts across the U.S. are adding Fishing’s Future curricula to support their science, biology and extra-curricular programs.
The organization also reaches out to the elderly, for example this 2nd Annual Seniors Kickin’ Bass Tournament on March 16th, at the Memorial Nursing Home in San Antonio, Texas.
Additionally, chapters have also started appearing on military bases, bringing fishing outreach education and activities to active duty servicemen and women, veterans, and their families!
Typical FF Family Fish Camps provide a FREE full day of education, fun and fishing where kids and parents learn the skills, knots, methods, rules and techniques necessary to fish independently.
Fishing’s Future also teaches a Leave-No-Trace philosophy, environmental stewardship, and basic biology. Fishing’s Future has also organized numerous river and lake clean-up drives across the country.
Besides teaching conventional angling skills, Fishing’s Future also conducts Family Fly Fishing Camps (FFCCs), Family Kayaking Camps (FKCs) and many other angling-related outreach events.
Over the past decade Fishing’s Future has grown relationships with companies like Pure Fishing, Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas, Coleman, and numerous others who help make the non-profit clinics happen. Fishing’s Future is run 100% on the support of corporate sponsors who provide gear like fishing rods, tackle – and contributions to provide food at the events.
“We’re growing at an exponential rate, so any kind of support is greatly appreciated. All the monies we raise go right back into buying more equipment and supporting new chapters,” says Wilson.
If you or your business is interested in sponsoring Fishing’s Future – or you’d like to organize a chapter where you live – please reach out to FF here.
Personally, I was so impressed with the organization that I volunteered to head Minnesota’s first chapter, focusing on bringing classroom and on-the-water clinics to inner city youth.