In 2004, an organization calling itself Fishing’s Future began as a way to “return today’s society back to nature one child/one family at a time.”
Their mission statement became “to reconnect kids and nature, strengthen family relationships, build stewardship of the environment and provide positive, primary, outdoor experiences for children ages 6 – 16.”
Fishing’s Future uses Kids Fish Camps, to accomplish these goals. Leaders and instructors of Fish Camps are trained by Fishing’s Future staff, and earn the title of Master Angler, which then allows them to start their own Fishing’s Future local chapter if they wish.
Heidi Albin grew up trout fishing in Colorado.
She remembers her family always went on one big family fishing trip each year and many other smaller fishing excursions as life allowed. Heidi is now the science teacher and character education coordinator at Complete High School, an alternative school in Maize, Kans.
Her students have not been successful in traditional learning environments for one reason or another, and the curriculum stresses character development and life skills.
In 2016 Heidi took the required training and became a Master Angler through the Fishing’s Future program and started her own Fishing’s Future chapter, which she runs through her classroom at Complete High School.
Like all other schools in the state and like many others across the country, Complete High School is closed for the rest of the school year, leaving Heidi and the other teachers there to search for novel ways to somehow keep her students feeling connected for the rest of the school year.
Greg Schott is another Fishing’s Future Master Angler from Mulvane, Kans. Greg has extensive experience in teaching kids about fishing and works with Kansas Dept of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, and also with COMCARE of Sedgwick County, an outreach program that works with community health programs.
Greg feels fishing is a great socialization tool that helps improve kids demeaners and helps guide them in the right direction in life.
Using Greg’s experience in teachings kids to fish, and Heidi’s classroom and technical expertise, the two of them have teamed up to begin offering online, live-streamed Kids Fish Camps for Heidi’s students.
Heidi says the initial camp will be filmed from her classroom and will be all about the basics of fishing.
The students will be taught how to use a rod and reel and how to rig them up with a hook, bobber and sinker, how to tie fishing knots, where to find fish and what bait to use for what fish.
Initially the fish pursued will be panfish like sunfish and bluegills and catfish. Heidi usually teaches these basic classes to her students in the classroom, then they get to go outdoors to continue learning about nature, and eventually get to go fishing during school hours in the spring and in the fall.
From there, they progress to inviting other kids to go fishing with them and to larger activities like community fish camps, where the community and groups like firemen and first responders are invited and the kids themselves actually provide the instruction.
Heidi and Greg are still working-out how to accomplish the actual fishing time, whether to have everyone go fish where they can, and link them all together digitally with Facetime, etc. or whether to wait-out this predicament and hope they can all get together to fish again later in the spring.
Any community involvement is also obviously up-in-the-air at this time.
Since many of Heidi’s students come from difficult backgrounds and less-than-perfect home situations, she feels it very important to keep these kids connected with each other and with outdoors learning during this current strange and stressful situation.
Learning how to fish and going fishing will help accomplish that connection, so Kudos to Heidi and Greg for going the extra mile to make that happen…Who knows, even I might be good at virtual fishing! Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org