Any angler will tell you that the time they spend fishing can be the most valuable when it comes to their mental and physical health. This can be especially true for active, previously serving, or retired military personnel.
Here’s a brief list of some nonprofit organizations that use their fishing expertise to serve those who have provided us with the freedoms we enjoy every day.
Project Healing Waters
Project Healing Waters’ mission is simple “Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings.”
One of the better known nonprofit fishing organizations, in 2018 Project Healing Waters had more than 8,307 disabled veterans and disabled active military personal participate in their programs. You can read more about the work they do here.
Heroes on the Water
Heroes on the Water is billed as “alternative therapeutic programs for veterans, active-duty military, first responders and their families.” The focus of Heroes on the Water is healing through time outside kayak fishing. They’ve been providing veterans services since 2007 and opened their programs up to first responders and their families in 2018.
Heroes on the Water provides all the fishing and kayaking materials needed and they can adapt kayaking to be accessible to those with disabilities. Their events are held for free and take place all over the United States with chapters also in Australia and the United Kingdom. Learn more about them here.
Take a Vet Fishing
Take a Vet Fishing seeks to “honor, comfort and assist our PTS (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) soldiers.” Take a Vet Fishing hosts fishing events for soldiers to participate in. They work to show gratitude to service members by helping put their minds back at ease. Read more about their work here.
Mission Outdoors believes that “hope grows outdoors. On the water. On a hunt. On the slopes. On a trail.” The organization provides fishing and outdoor adventures for veterans. Because of Mission Outdoors’s expanded focus to include outdoors in-general, they host a variety of activities for an assortment of interests.
Their programs include outdoor experiences like fishing, marksmanship courses/range/experiences, skeet and trap shooting, 3D archery shoots, hiking, biking, rafting, camping. But they also include programs on team-building and professional services including resume guidance. Learn more about Mission Outdoors here.
Take a Warrior Fishing
Take a Warrior Fishing hosts events that are “designed to support military personnel and their families, by creating an adaptive, community-based outdoor recreation experience through the sport of fishing.”
TWF was established by the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation. The foundation not only has programs for military personnel and their families, but it also has programs to introduce urban youth to the sport of fishing, and programs to teach children with special needs how to fish.
Take a Warrior Fishing’s goal is to increase family interaction through outdoor recreation and positive social interactions that “help transitioning service members rebuild connections with the civilian world.” Read more about TWF here.