To Fish Is To Hope

Raising Funds And Finding VolunteersThe program is supported by The Hartford, Under Armour and other businesses, such as Emotion Kayaks and Temple Fork Outfitters, which donate a portion of their sales; the Susan G. Komen for the Cure is active with the group as well.

The Ohio Chapter of Casting for Recovery has an annual fish-a-thon to raise money for the retreats. Hampton credits the support team for planning and receiving support from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in Cincinnati and Columbus, the Pink Ribbon Girls, as well as local businesses, such as Reynolds and Reynolds.

Nationwide, the retreats are managed and supported by over 1,500 volunteers. “Our volunteers have a variety of skill sets, including medical and psychosocial expertise,” says Hampton. “The volunteers are good listeners and are compassionate. They strive to make the retreat whatever the ladies need it to be. Plus, our volunteers like to have fun.”

“The volunteers need to know how to work with women in recovery,” says Fox. “The effects of the retreat are seen well after the weekend. And, it is important that the volunteers realize that this has an impact beyond the day.”

“We typically host 14 participants at a time and keep the number small to make sure everyone gets the attention that they need,” says Hampton. “For that, we need 11 volunteers, but that number can change based on the ladies’ diagnoses and treatment.” Fly-fishing instructors come from local fly-fishing organizations as well as outfitters. In Ohio, instructors are from the Buckeye United Fly-Fishers and the Central Ohio Fly-Fishers associations.

Retreating To Advance

“The retreat location should be a beautiful, relaxing, natural environment where the women can feel pampered and bond with each other,” says Fox. Casting for Recovery’s facility requirements include locations for reception, evening circle, classrooms and graduation, plus open areas to practice casting. Bunk beds are not required, but enough beds for at least 25 women (participants plus volunteers) are needed so there is no sharing a bed; restroom and shower facilities also are required. The location must be within 20 minutes of medical care at a hospital. Fishing locations must be within a 20-minute drive to a river or pond for catch-and-release fly-fishing and wading.

“We strive for the atmosphere of the location to be very tranquil and away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life,” says Hampton. “We host our program at the Indian Bear Lodge in Walhonding, Ohio. It is a private campground facility with well-manicured ponds within walking distance.”

“We encourage park and recreation departments to partner with breast-cancer support groups in their area to bring the Casting for Recovery program to their location,” says Fox. If your facility or agency is looking to increase the variety of programs hosted onsite, and meets the basic requirements for the Casting for Recovery program, then request an information packet from the national Casting for Recovery office by e-mailing info@castingforrecovery.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You might change someone’s life.

Tammy York is the owner of LandShark Communications LLC which specializes in media and public relations for outdoor recreation businesses. Her book, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Cincinnati, is available online and in bookstores. You can reach her at landsharkpr@yahoo.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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