Youth Development Programme
AJS FlyFishers and 1st Knaresborough (Castle) Scout Group
have teamed up to provide a wonderful opportunity for youngsters in the local area. For a number of years many fishing clubs have recognised that fewer and fewer of their members were pre retirement age, very few having any under 18 year old members.
After a lengthy planning stage the Club has now joined together with the local Scouts and developed a programme that will take 6 youngsters, in each of the following three years, on a journey into the wonderful world of Fly Fishing.
Paula Child, Scout Leader and local Science Teacher has worked with Club Treasurer Ian Wynn, retired Assistant Headteacher, and together an exciting programme has been developed. Students will not only have the opportunity to learn how to set up and use fly fishing equipment by our volunteer Advanced Level Instructor of the Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructor (AAPGAI); Leigh Fidell, he will be joined by two Angling Trust Coaches, Mark Gambles and Jeff Metcalf. Scouts will also be coached in skills and techniques related to Fly Dressing by Club member David Hild who is a Life Member of the Fly Dressers Guild.
During the planning stages it was felt that it would be of increased benefit to the students if they also had the opportunity to examine the effects land management and its use places on the environment and subsequently on water courses and river fly life. This key aspect has also been added to the course and will be lead by Paula who has a background in such matters.
Funding for such a wide ranging and high level programme has not been easy to find but continued efforts by our Treasurer had led to the project accessing some funding over the next couple of years from the Angling Improvement Fund, which reinvests a share of Fishing Licence income to improvement projects and activities at fisheries. The Fund is administered by the Angling Trust and supported by the Environment Agency.
In addition local and international supplier Semperfi has also made generous contributions to enable high quality outcomes for the students. AJS FlyFishers are also grateful for the generous support given by Veniards and Orvis as well as Club members who have also made kind donations of equipment and other resources.
The programme began in April 2021 with a Zoom meeting for volunteer students and their parents plus members of AJS FlyFishers and the Scouts. The initial session will be centred on Fly Dressing and then the following session on Knot Tying before moving to their first casting and fishing experience at Maran Lakes, Wetherby and then Kilnsey Trout Farm, North Yorkshire
Progress reports, with pictures and videos will be posted on the website as the programme develops over the year. On completion the students will gain the Scouts Fishing Badge and the programme will also count as a high level skill towards the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme.