PHWFF Updates and Reminders during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Todd Desgrosseilliers

Dear PHWFF Volunteer Leaders,
I am once again writing you in hopes that this note finds you and your families well during this unique time in our country and around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m also writing to inform each of you that – due to high health risks that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present for our volunteers and participants – we’ll continue to suspend all Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Local and National Program in-person meetings, activities, and outings through 31 December 2020. Additionally, the PHWFF Headquarters Staff will continue to work remotely until 30 June 2021.

During the remaining months in 2020, we encourage everyone to remain engaged with our volunteers and participants by continuing to build our capability and capacity to conduct virtual core program activities. We will continue to conduct on-line volunteer training to enable this effort throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The PHWFF HQ Staff is currently coordinating these training opportunities with you. We are also developing a virtual fly tying and fly rod building competition for our participants. We will conduct these virtual competitions from October to December 2020 and will provide additional information about participation in it in September. I understand and acknowledge the widespread frustration with this pandemic’s interference in our daily lives. As you know, we continue our effort to develop a plan that can enable us to remove the total suspension on in-person meetings, activities, and outings as soon as possible. We formed a working group in May 2020 to create this plan. Currently, it includes an interim multi-phased approach to reducing the COVID-19 risks that can progressively enable us to re-engage in our core program activities. For the remainder of 2020, our focus is to restore two-person day outings, casting instruction, and fly fishing education outdoors with COVID-19 restrictions. Our goal is to restore these activities as soon as possible during 2020. We provided an initial draft of this plan for review and feedback from everyone in August. In September, we will provide you with a revised plan and will seek additional input about it. Thank you again for your feedback! We are making progress.

We recognize that we live in a fluid, evolving situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. As we discussed throughout this crisis, we monitor the latest updates from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), along with local, state, and federal agencies to inform our decisions. We also continue to maintain open and transparent communications with our volunteers, participants, Board of Trustees, partners, and donors. As the situation further develops, we will continue to make assessments regarding our Local and National Program meetings, activities, events, and outings. We will continue to make each decision using current healthcare industry data with participant, volunteer, staff, and community risk management and well-being remaining as our top priority –
while we comply with local, state, and federal guidance and restrictions.

Meanwhile, we encourage our volunteers and participants to continue to remain engaged with each other in the virtual environment. Fortunately, we can conduct virtual core program activities to maintain the personal connections, camaraderie, and friendships that form the lasting bonds in our local programs. So far during this crisis, these virtual core program activities enabled us to retain and build our PHWFF community – creating hope and happiness and eliminating feelings of isolation and loneliness.

The PHWFF HQ Staff is available to help you complete online volunteer training and/or establish virtual core program activities. Through these core program activities, we continue to provide physical and emotional recovery, encourage engagement, and create a community where our participants can heal. We should never forget that we are stronger together. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you all for your dedication and your commitment to our Cause!

Warm Regards

Todd S. Desgrosseilliers
President & Chief Executive Officer

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