By Ron Presley
Shane Wilson signs his correspondence with the phrase, “Fishing’s Future……more than a sport.” Give that statement just a little thought and you will understand the mission of this highly successful organization that is dedicated to changing lives through fishing.
A popular statement among outdoor enthusiasts that recognizes a void in today’s society goes like this, “Give them a tackle box, not an Xbox.” The statement obviously refers to our youth’s tendency towards cyberspace instead of outdoors space. This thinking is right down Shane Wilson’s alley, but he takes it further, because of his background. Wilson is the founder of an organization known as Fishing’s Future (FF).
Fishing’s Future started on South Padre Island, TX in 2007. Wilson was administrator of a local School District’s Discipline Alternative Education Program (DAEP). In that role, Wilson was charged with educating kids that had misbehaved in some manner.
“These kids were good kids who made bad decisions,” recalls Wilson. “When two or three of them got together, their decision-making abilities plummeted.”
During the 12 years that Wilson was with the DAEP he came to the conclusion that those bad decisions came because of a lack of active, positive, parental engagement in their lives. His personal interests and background led him to start an angling education program aimed at re-hooking parents to children.
The basis of his program links back to his own childhood where fishing was instrumental in strengthening his family’s connections to each other. Reconnecting the family unit became his mission and angling education was the vehicle he used to accomplish that goal.
In a message on their website FF explains that families are important and that kids need to play outside. It further communicates FF’s belief that learning about conservation and keeping our earth green and clean is the responsibility of everyone.
The FF website states, “Fishing’s Future provides opportunities for families to reconnect to nature and learn about angling through family-oriented fishing activities designed to strengthen family bonds and teach responsible, ethical, environmentally-conscious lessons. . .”
Interesting to CatfishNow is the role that catfishing plays in the success of FF. “Catfish are the number one fish caught at most Fishing’s Future Family Fish Camps and other fishing events,” said Wilson. “They are exciting fish to catch due to their tremendous fighting ability and size variations. Kids love to catch them and scream when they do. I can think of no better fish to ignite a lifelong hobby.”
The organization accomplishes its mission through chapters across the U.S. This year alone, more than 115,000 individuals have received some level of fishing knowledge from FF. Some 15,000 volunteer hours have been logged in accomplishing this feat. Over the last several years, FF has introduced more than 600,000 individuals to the joys of fishing and that number continues to grow.
For Wilson, the rewards are many. “The reward comes in many forms,” states Wilson. “But above all, I receive the most satisfaction in knowing that Fishing’s Future is directly responsible for enriching the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals by giving them the gift of fishing.”
How you can support Fishing’s Future
Fishing’s Future does not charge for their services. As a volunteer, non-profit organization, FF receives inquiries daily to form new partnerships, open new chapters and schedule more events. Those enquires place additional pressures on their budget. This is where they can use your help.
The success of Fishing’s Future is completely dependent upon volunteers and donations. All over America there are families who want to fish but don’t know how and Fishing’s Future is the only organizations completely dedicated to teaching families how to fish independently. Their programs hinge on funding, volunteers and individuals who are willing to make a difference within their community by joining the Fishing’s Future family.
You can be a part of the everlasting and life changing affects this program has on youth and their families by visiting their website (http://www.fishingsfuture.org) and learning about starting a new chapter, being a sponsor or making a donation to support this very worthwhile cause.
Based on their outstanding performance in providing angling related activities for families all over the country, FF was recently presented the 2016 Roland Sigurdson Outstanding Aquatic Education Program Award. The award was presented by the Aquatic Resources Education Association (AREA). The award is given for providing an outstanding aquatic education program that increases public awareness of the resource and/or provides/promotes angler education and fishing opportunities.
Fishing’s Future Founder and President, Shane Wilson, accepted the award on behalf of the organization. “This award goes out to all volunteers and supporters who have taken part in making Fishing’s Future what it is today,” said Wilson. “There are hundreds of Fishing’s Future volunteers who give freely of their time to share the joys and knowledge of fishing within their communities.”
Fishing’s Future currently has more than 50 chapters scattered across America and over the next 5 years they expect to more than double that number. FF hopes to have multiple chapters in every state and at the rate they are growing and the national recognition they are receiving, Fishing’s Future is on the way to becoming a household name.
For more information on Fishing’s Future, visit their website (www.fishingsfuture.org) or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
CatfishNow commends them for their efforts and joins others in congratulating Fishing’s Future on the prestigious AREA award.