Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Teach a Man to Fish

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Teach a Man to Fish

Article excerpt

Students at universities across the country are getting hooked on fishing.

There is an old saying that goes, "Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for life." Most of the U.S. population has tried fishing at least once in their lives. Only 12 percent have never fished. About 18 percent of that 82 percent tried the sport but never carried into adulthood. Therefore, a market exists for adult sport fishing instruction, but where does someone go to learn to teach fishing? These days, more are heading to a college or university.

The sport of fishing has many attributes that are worth passing on to others interested in the activity:

* Sport fishing is a rewarding lifetime, outdoor activity that is increasing in popularity with university students across the nation.

* It is beneficial to everyone it touches: the individual student, his/her family, friends, businesses or professional contacts.

* Anglers are supporters of wildlife, fisheries and the environment, as well as proponents of clean water, fresh air and the wise use of natural resources.

* Fishing courses help prepare students to make responsible decisions regarding natural resource development.

* Sport fishing is gender neutral; it is equally beneficial to males and females.

* It is not age specific and is suited to young and old alike.

* Fly fishing strives to be non-consumptive, non-combative, and to teach good ethics, integrity and strength of character.

* The sport binds students together in a healthy, productive outdoor activity, which builds upon leadership and teamwork in life.

With these attributes in mind, to achieve long-term stability a post-secondary program must address three primary user groups:

a) Those students wishing to graduate and move into the workforce.

b) Primary and secondary school teachers seeking professional development and enhancement of grade-specific curriculum.

c) General public members seeking personal enrichment and/or shared family experiences.

Also, hands-on, laboratory-based, educational experiences serve to build confidence and enthusiasm more than lecture-based curriculum, and community-based science outreach and recreation classes are usually well-received because the students take on a certain level of ownership in the program and their education.

There are more than 115 North American colleges and universities that offer different program durations, credit options and delivery methods of sport fishing classes. Most such programs fall into three main categories: non-credit short courses and workshops; general education sport fishing programs like those offered in physical education or recreation programs; and, sport fishing classes linked to outdoor education/leadership programs.

Non-Credit Short Courses or Workshops

Sport fishing, or more precisely fly fishing, can be included in a simple postsecondary summer arts program. Such is the case at Canadore College in North Bay, Ontario. In 1994, Artsperience, Canadore College's Summer School of the Arts, presented a variety of exciting continuing education workshops and short courses, such as outdoor adventure, gardening and culinary arts. True to its name, the program included creative courses for the inspiring artist, including painting, photography, sculpture and woodcarving. Youth programs were also offered such as music workshops, computer camps and dance.

According to Linda Topolie of Canadore's Continuing Education program, Artsperience has been offered there for more than 25 years. Workshop durations range from a weekend to a full week and are either non-credit or for credit and lead to a certificate program. All courses are taught by highly regarded, practicing professional artists.

Most of the part-time instructors come to Topolie offering suggestions and new course ideas. There is not much collaboration with the college's faculty, rather the program relies on the North Bay community (population 50,000) for many of its instructors. …

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