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The 4th Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Regional Rendezvous (RR4) took place at the Learning Center of Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center in Long Beach, CA on February 9 – 11, 2018.  It was a unique opportunity for PHWFF Regional Coordinators to gather in-person for training, the sharing of best practices, team building, and to further learn about the complex issues associated with the reintegration and rehabilitation challenges faced by the veterans served by PHWFF.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation this conference enabled PHWFF to implement focused training and interaction with other staff, management and key partners. Over these days, Regional Coordinators (RCs) were given the opportunity to strengthen the activities that work best, learn new technologies, and to identify areas that may need adjustments. Such personal interaction and collaborative initiatives serve to fine-tune the services and results enjoyed by PHWFF disabled veteran participants and volunteer leadership.  Special guests at the RR4 included Sabrina Clark, Director of Voluntary Services for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Len Zickler, President and CEO of Fly Fishers International, Margaret Harrell, Director of Programs & Partnerships and Samuel Holmes, Charitable Investments Program Officer, both from the Bob Woodruff Foundation; and Reilly Ellis, Consultant from NowIT Matters.


RC’s are responsible for managing and monitoring the PHWFF activities and efforts of all existing, developing and prospective programs within their geographic region. The RC serves as the conduit for information sharing between the national organization and local Program Lead (PL).   In addition, they provide leadership and moral support to PLs, communicate with national organizations, media, program partners and donors.

Volunteer RCs are paramount in the workings of PHWFF.  The RR4 sought to retain, train, motivate and honor our RCs through collective work, policy discussion, and the implementation of new technologies.  The meetings also served as an opportunity for RCs to meet each other, talk to each other about issues they are experiencing, celebrate their successes and discuss best practices to improve where necessary. Furthermore, RCs also met PHWFF staff and management in both formal and informal settings reinforcing their importance to the organization and the disabled veteran participants they serve.

During the course of the three day rendezvous, particular attention was paid to reviewing the Strategic Plan, a SalesForce training on the new CRM platform and the comprehensive PHWF Program Guide.  The Strategic Plan review was led by PHWFF President and CEO Todd Desgrosseilliers and the Salesforce training was facilitated by Reilly Ellis from NowIT Matters. In addition to these full-group sessions, the conference attendees also worked in small working  groups lead by key staff members to collectively review the PHWFF Program Guide.   A tremendous amount of work was accomplished through the collective reviews, training sessions, and small group discussion.  These accomplishments will further enable the execution of the PHWFF mission and expansion of our services to a greater number of disabled veterans nationwide.

Special thanks are due to:  The Bob Woodruff Foundation, Sabrina Clark, Len Zickler, Reilly Ellis and NowITMatters, Carole Katz and the Long Beach, CA PHWFF Program, Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center, Chris Visconti, and all those who attended, and contributed towards making this such a successful and productive three days.