The Mayfly Project is a 501(c)(3) national organization that uses fly fishing as a catalyst to mentor and support children in foster care. The Mission of The Mayfly Project is to support 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, build confidence, and develop a meaningful connection with the outdoors.
During each project outing the kids in Mayfly programs participate in their Conservation Initiative learning the three C’s: Catch and Release, Clean Rivers, and Contamination. Mentors teach 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 project, each child is given their own fly gear so they can continue their flyfishing journey.
Today we are happy to have Mayfly Project Los Angeles's lead mentor, Jane Miller, join us as a guest author to talk about looking back at a great end to 2022 and forward to the work of 2023.
Multiple PNWFF members are active Mayfly Project volunteers, please check out the @FishingGirl member spotlight from last June's newsletter. Follow their lead and visit the Mayfly Project's website and donate or get involved: https://themayflyproject.com/
Support the Mayfly Project in 2023
As January arrives each year, the third Monday in the United States is designated the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service (MLK Day) where we each are encouraged to provide meaningful service to our communities. For The Mayfly Project (TMP) Los Angeles team who is one of 67 teams around the country (and one in the UK!), this means preparing to launch their 2023 project with a group of local foster children.
To prepare, the team is actively recruiting children and fundraising as the program is totally free for the families. The program consists of five sessions, named after the five lifecycle stages of a mayfly. These sessions gradually teach the children everything about their local ecosystem and fly fishing like fly rod assembly, knot-tying, conservation, casting, and more! By the end of each project, the children receive all the gear they need to continue the hobby on their own including additional online supports for their families.
Most importantly, breaking down barriers and giving equitable access is key. The yearlong fundraising ensures that we can fund meals, provide transportation as needed, and provide free gear that includes rods, packs, fly boxes, forceps, nets, and more.
This year's fundraising was a resounding success due to the partnership with community advocate Al Quattrocchi, https://alquattrocchi.com/. Not only did he provide us a platform, sponsorship, and an amazing program at Southwest Council of Fly Fishing's Double Haul Ball at the Long Beach Casting Club, he was also key to our fundraising at the Patagonia Santa Monica and The American Museum of Flyfishing educational series event that included a free screening of the film “Mighty Waters” and Q&A with the film director/executive producer, Shannon Vandivier. This was followed by a diversity panel of local fly fishers, including one of our Mayfly Project Los Angeles mentors, who spoke about their personal journey on how fly fishing has enriched their lives and helps make change in their communities.
If you haven't seen the film "Mighty Waters", this January in honor of MLK Day is the time to do so. This film depicted the life and philosophy of a living fly fishing legend, Ansil, who was the fly fishing guide for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Bimini days before he was assassinated. Ansil’s humble, modest, and unassuming nature kept his story confined for far too long, and for this reason, Vandivier felt overwhelmingly compelled to tell it. Take the next 17 minutes to watch this film and its powerful message of hope, peace, and humanity in a way that inspires and empowers. Follow that with learning more about our The Mayfly Project Los Angeles or The May Fly Project in your area and how you can give back to the community.
Lead Mentor, Los Angeles Project
There is a bit more about Ansil and his life in this article on the amff.org website. It is well worth a read: