September 30 – October 6, 2018: Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) has had a great relationship with the Sweetwater Travel Guider School for many years now. Each year, the Sweetwater Guide School, located in Livingston, Montana, has offered 1-2 scholarships to PHWFF disabled veteran participants who are interested in pursing a career in the fly fishing industry as a professional guide. We pleased to announce that the 2018 scholarships went to Clem Danish USA, MAJ (Ret) RLTW and Albert Vigilante (more from them below).
The Sweetwater Guide school provides its students with the necessary experience to land that essential first fly fishing job through its incredible staff of instructors (all of whom are experienced, international fishing guides that have worked with Sweetwater in their international destinations) who teach students everything from rowing western rivers, running rapids in jet boats to helping them guide clients into big fish. The school limits the size of their courses to insure quality instruction and interaction with instructors, giving the students the focused attention they deserve and further increasing the odds of landing that big job upon graduation. Thanks to this stellar curriculum and reputation, many PHWFF participant graduates of their course are now working professionally as fly fishing guides.
The experience and education prompted Clem Danish write a short note about his experiences at the school and we’re pleased to share it with you:
Albert Vigilante and I attended the Sweetwater Travel Guide School from 30 September – 6 October 2018. The course was phenomenal from start to finish. The state of Montana is an amazing backdrop to humble a fisherman striving to be a guide both from shore and floating the river in a drift boat. Though we had skills learned from years of participating with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing we were provided with alternative and efficient approaches to serve a client’s needs instead of our own on the water. The course is all about the client and making them as successful as possible. This is similar to leading Soldiers and giving them all the knowledge and skills possible to ensure their success.
Prior to hitting the water we stood-out on many occasions by conducting buddy checks and risk assessments with the boat crew. We joked and bantered a lot while on the water, but were always there to support the students on oars and assist where we could. The goal on our boat was to gain as much as possible and focus on bettering each other either on rigging, rowing, or reading the water.
Our small boat team and house crew were made up of three veterans and a young man that was soon brought into the mix and immersed in our ways of doing business and looking out for each other. He was nervous at first, but within a few hours he saw we were genuinely there to ensure we learned everything about guiding and would work with others to ensure their success as well. The success in that relationship is seen everyday through constant text messaging and emailing.
We went there as fisherman and volunteer guides and walked away better fisherman and capable professional guides on land and floating the rivers. We are all now pursuing our passion of entering the industry and helping others enjoy fly fishing as much as we do each time we grab a rod or pull-up to a fly-tying vice.
This opportunity is a once in a lifetime event that we will continue to pay forward each time we guide another person on a beautiful piece of water.