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Sharing Ties Through Fly Fishing

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  • October 24, 2018
Women's Fly Fishing Retreat Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s Women’s Initiative Leadership Retreat

 

Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited
“Sharing Ties – PA Women’s Initiative Leadership Retreat” brought women from Trout Unlimited chapters throughout Pennsylvania for the first annual retreat. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission partnered with PA Council of Trout Unlimited to organize the inaugural retreat held at GodSpeed Hostel, Port Matilda, PA on April 20, 21, and 22. PA Council of Trout Unlimited financed the event.

The “Sharing Ties – PA Women’s Initiative Leadership Retreat” resulted in such positive reviews from participants that plans are underway for the second annual retreat, says Amidea Daniel, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Youth and Women’s Program coordinator and Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited Women and Diversity Initiative Committee co-chair.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission partnered with PA Council of Trout Unlimited to organize the inaugural retreat held at GodSpeed Hostel, Port Matilda, PA on April 20, 21, and 22. PA Council of Trout Unlimited financed the event. 

Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited Women's Initiative
The retreat was so successful, plans are underway for the 2019 retreat.

Daniel said, among the participants’ comments she heard throughout the weekend were, “Loved seeing more women connecting and working together to get more diverse audiences on the water,”  “Enjoyed connecting with Heather Hodson from WA via Skype – her ideas and enthusiasm are contagious,” and “Looking forward to next year’s retreat to see what everyone implemented in 2018.” 

Daniel and Kelly Williams planned the retreat with the assistance of a steering committee made up of “energetic, passionate, and determined women” according to Daniel.

Trout Fly Fishing
Amidea Daniel hands out door prizes at an evening event held in conjunction with the retreat.

 

Together, they set the stage for 25 women from 13 TU chapters and 16 counties and other organizations across Pennsylvania to network, share ideas, and work together on ways to help connect more ladies to PA’s waterways through conservation projects, fishing and outreach programs. Participants identified and shared resources and ideas for new programs and events aimed at increasing future engagement among members.

“Icebreakers;” break-out sessions; the Costa SLAM Film Event; art; project and idea sharing; fishing; casting; discussing barriers and solutions to implement programs; and a guest appearance by Washington State’s Women’s Initiative Ambassador, Heather Hodson, via Skype were among the activities offered throughout the weekend.  

Daniel said she was impressed by the enthusiasm and excitement she witnessed during the introductions during the opening session.

PA Women Anglers
Leadership is one of the goals of the Pennsylvania (PA) Trout Unlimited Women’s initiative and a topic that was discussed in details at the large and small-group breakout sessions.

“Many of the women expressed excitement when they saw so many other ladies interested in connecting to Pennsylvania resources through fishing or conservation programs,” Daniel noted. “When they introduced themselves each person began to realize they are not alone in trying to get more diverse audiences interested not only in fishing but also protecting the resources we all enjoy.”

The less experienced and beginner anglers soon found mentors among the group members. Daniel said, “The few that were new to fly fishing were quickly taken under the wings of women who had experience. Lots of ideas and experiences were shared.”

Women Fly Fishing
Rachel Grube is new to fly fishing and enjoyed the camaraderie. The fly-fishing skill level ranged from beginner to advanced.

Rachael E. Grube, a Watershed/GIS specialist with the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation and a beginner fly angler, was inspired by the passion so many of the women she met had for fishing and aquatic ecosystem conservation.

“Every woman there had a different story about how she became interested in Trout Unlimited or conservation in general, and I think knowing the reasons why a woman might decide to get involved is a key factor when targeting women as new members or volunteers,” Grube said via an email interview. “Everyone had new ideas about how to get even more women involved in fishing and aquatic conservation. Sometimes working in conservation can be discouraging, but hearing details about successful programs and events will allow me to plan future conservation programs more strategically.”

Check water temperature
Conservation and responsible fishing practices were on the agenda. During one of the breaks, members had a chance to fish in the nearby stream.
Trout Water Best Temperature
Before fishing, a simple test revealed the water was at the perfect temperature.
Trout Fly Fishing
Door prizes brought smiles to the participants’ faces.           
Fly-Fishing Retreat Door Prizes
Door prizes ranged from hats to gift certificates for guided fly-fishing trips.

Joan Mead-Matsui is an award-winning freelance journalist; travel writer, photographer, and fly-angler from Clarks Summit, PA. She discovered her love for fly fishing five years ago and covers her adventures on her website joanmatsuitravelwriter.com and several publications.  

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