Celebrate Your Life – Experience the World
By J “Kat” Loren : :
Fly fishing offers a great escape from the pain of the past, a respite from the stressors of life, and a new camaraderie that transcends medical and professional labels. It requires more finesse than strength – a perfect sport for women, especially those who feel physically or psychically limited in some way.
Organizations like Project Healing Waters (for female and male military veterans) and Casting for Recovery (for breast cancer survivors) capitalize on the fact that nature offers healing for the soul.
As a surgeon who did reconstruction after breast cancer surgery, Dr. Benita Walton knew the importance of movement, especially movement of the soft tissue of the shoulder and arm, to promote healing. As a professional fly-fisher, Gwenn Perkins knew the healing power of nature. Together they formed Casting for Recovery 1996 in Manchester, Vermont. National sponsors include Sage, Sisters on the Fly, Ashford Hospitality Trust, Genentech and Orvis, enabling them to offer 42 support and educational program retreats for breast cancer survivors every year in 35 states.
During summer, Casting for Recovery will host several retreats in the Northwest that offer peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly-fishing. The Montana, trips will be hosted at Nine Quarter Circle Ranch and the Glacier National Park Outdoor Center. In Elkton, OR, one is scheduled at Big K Guest Ranch. In Challis, Idaho, a retreat will be offered at Living Waters Ranch. (For information see http://castingforrecovery.org/events/retreat-schedule/)
Project Healing Waters is a national organization that introduces military personnel to the healing balm of nature and meditative arts of casting and tying flies.
According to Chuck Tye, NW Director of Project Healing Waters, he would like to see more women veterans, take up rod and reel. Every Wednesday, Chuck joins volunteers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Warrior Transition Unit to teach wounded active duty personnel how to tie flies. They swap war stories and in the process, Chuck encourages both male and female veterans to join them on one of the fishing trips they run year round, rain or shine. “It doesn’t matter if they have lost an arm or a leg or have a psychic wounding we cannot see. Fly-fishing is very adaptable to the individual. Yeah, I admit we don’t coddle them. They soon discover that they are not limited on the river,” Chuck explained. “In fact, the river is healing in many ways.”
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J “Kat” Loren is a recent convert to fishing and is an avid explorer of the beauty of life. Her travel articles have appeared in national magazines. J “Kat” Loren is also the author of more than a dozen books. She currently focuses on writing health, fitness, ocean conservation and travel articles. Her blog “Crazi Culture” is a popular read among those who like eclectic topics and travelogues about odd places and adventures. http://www.craziculture.com
Other articles in the women and fishing series include:
“Best Women’s Fly Fishing Gear” http://wp.me/p4Dkge-4n
See the feature article “Grace on the Fly” at http://wp.me/p4Dkge-4e
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