[Boys Home of Virginia press release] Fly fishing is a lot like life – it may look easy but there’s a lot to learn.
That’s why renowned fly-casting instructor Dusty Sprague and other enthusiasts gathered on the 1,400-acre campus of Boys Home of Virginia on Sept. 26 for Teach a Man to Fish, a first-ever event to introduce its residents to fly fishing – and other life lessons.
“One of the ways we help our boys learn discipline and patience is by exposing them to the wonders of the natural world, so we’ve arranged to bring some of the world’s best known anglers to introduce the boys to the joys, art and skills of fly fishing,” said Donnie Wheatley, executive director of Boys Home. “Fly fishing teaches kids about themselves and the world around them, consistent with the values we instill – respect, wisdom, curiosity and responsibility.”
Boys Home is a residential home for at-risk boys from throughout Virginia and from other states to transform their lives by teaching them independence, discipline and responsibility. The organization provides schooling, food, clothing, shelter and guidance, almost entirely privately financed by individuals and churches.
“We give them the education they need, and lead them to become well-rounded men,” Wheatley said. “Teach a Man to Fish will teach our young men patience and the physical skills like eye-hand coordination to fly fish.”
Sprague, Jacob Ott, director of outdoor pursuits with the Greenbrier Resort, and other volunteers first instructed the boys in the gym before setting out to fish on the campus pond (stocked with perch, redeye and small- and large-mouth bass) and nearby Dunlap Creek.
“We’re very happy to help the boys either be introduced to this wonderful sport or be further educated about it,” Sprague said. “The skills of fly fishing are not easy to acquire. Fly casting is fairly simple but not easy to learn. Without some knowledgeable help, a person starting out alone can easily find the sport too difficult to pursue. The sport teaches one the skills of observation, self-discipline, patience, perseverance, respect for nature and other fishermen and our creator.”
“Boys Home provides care for young men in a healthy, supportive environment,” said Kelly O’Keefe of Richmond, a member of the Boys Home board of trustees. “Teach a Man to Fish, along with our ongoing education and programs to mold their character, is just another way to reach our residents in new ways.”
For more information, please visit www.boyshomeofva.org.