W.A.C.F.A. was founded to give children and their families the opportunity to learn the sport of fishing, to provide multiple chances to put those new-found skills to the test and to support the mentorship and guidance during fishing trips that leads to life-long lessons. The reality is that many children would love to go fishing or enjoy other outdoor activities, but their circumstances may not allow them to do so. Every child or family’s circumstance may be different. The primary obstacles to fishing may be that there is no experienced individual available to guide the child through their fishing experience. Some children may not have a suitable place to fish or the resources needed to purchase fishing equipment. Still others may have special needs which could range from a slight learning disability to a diagnosed mental health or physical disability. Introducing children to fishing can provide positive memories, life lessons and skills that will influence their paths for a lifetime. Teaching them to fish can “build up” our children and strengthen the bond of families AT NO COST to the participants. This is at the heart of W.A.C.F.A.’s mission.
W.A.C.F.A. seeks to create a supportive learning environment where both children over the age of 8 and their parents can benefit from sharing a day of family fun with a positive purpose at a local body of water. Participants receive fishing gear, a W.A.C.F.A. t-shirt, bait, and tackle. They are then enrolled in an introductory class to prepare them for the day’s activities. Students participate in a short classroom style presentation at the water’s edge, taught by an experienced fisherman, and are then allowed to use those new skills under the close supervision of the instructor. They are shown proper fishing techniques and safety, basic care of the equipment, environmental stewardship, and other skills to allow the day to be a successful one for them.
At W.A.C.F.A., our students will be empowered to fish effectively and independently, making fishing their own sport. We are not only teaching them how to fish, but how to explore and face new challenges. We are providing a safe place for children to make new friends, strengthen familial relationships through a shared outdoor community activity, while empowering them to discover and celebrate their own personal characteristics. W.A.C.F.A. seeks to deliver a positive message: that all children can achieve, overcome and succeed despite their personal situations.
The W.A.C.F.A. approach is unique in that the experience is much more than a one-day fishing trip. Our volunteers teach classes with an ongoing, multi-tiered, multi-session approach. The in-depth learning experience provides a socialization and camaraderie aspect that is vital to the support of emotional and mental health for our children who have lost invaluable social time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our students walk away with a basic understanding of how to successfully fish in small bodies of water like our local small lakes and ponds. Everything from basic rod and tackle maintenance, proper bait selection and choosing the right tackle for the right situation!
At the advanced level, our students walk away with a basic understanding of how to successfully fish larger bodies of water like our rivers as well as developing some early understanding of the use of lures.
Our Giveaway Program ensures that our students who complete the entire lesson for their level receive a free rod/reel combo, and a tackle box loaded with fishing supplies. In this way, they can continue their fishing journey independently without any out of pocket costs!