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Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and Pacific Bay International joined forces and brought 10 PHWFF volunteers together for a special training event at their facility in Sequim, Washington.  The volunteer training was focused on equipping and empowering PHWFF volunteers with the education and instruction necessary to teach disabled veteran participants how to build beginner fly rods for the 2019 PHWFF National Fly Rod Building Competition.  Through this exciting new partnership, standard fly rod blanks and component kits from PacBay will be used in the 2019 PHWFF competition in addition to offering training opportunities focused on strengthening our development of fly rod instructors inside of the PHWFF volunteer ranks.

Soon entering its 11th year, the PHWFF National Fly Rod Building Competition is focused on expanding the therapeutic experience for PHWFF disabled veteran participants by giving them the experience of building their own fly rods to further their physical and mental rehabilitation through the sport of fly fishing.  It also has a fun competition component which gives participants the chance to win prizes for their rod building abilities.  The partnership with PacBay will continue building and expanding this ever popular annual program.

The National Programs Director led the charge in screening and selecting 10 volunteers that met the requirement criteria.  This workshop was not for our volunteers that already have advanced fly rod building skills and experience,  Instead, volunteers with little experience were selected so that they could encounter, and learn from, some of the same issues a first-year rod builder would.  The volunteers were able to choose from the large range of category one rods and component kits, offered in 5 and 8 weights.

Scott Whitmore, PacBay Chief of Operations, gave excellent instruction of how fly rod blanks were made and tested.  Instructors from the surrounding area were brought in to assist with the training and served as subject matter experts by showing their ability to construct rods and answer every question.   As the training progressed the volunteers were able to follow along with the instructors all the way to completion of the rod.  The results were amazing everyone left with a beautiful fly rod ready to display to their participants.

“Rod building theory helped me understand the physics of the fly rod better. Having to trainers working with the 10 of us was very good. I was always able to get my questions answered in a timely manner to be able to move on to the next step.”

“Before this class I worried that as less than an expert rod builder I might not serve my Program well as an instructor to a room full of excited first-time builders. But this class said it was truly intended for folks like me and was so well organized and instructed that I know I can bring value to our Program and the Region’s rod building sessions now.”

“Had a great time pleasure working with the people that were there and working with the company it was all around just a great course learned a lot that way to bring back to teach the program that I’ve long in I’m looking forward to setting up and teaching people how to build Rod come November.”