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March 4, 2019 San Antonio, Texas – Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) held a national training conference called the National Program Rendezvous (NPR) from March 1 – 3, 2019.  The event was focused on training and better equipping PHWFF volunteer leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to help heal the disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans they serve in their communities.

PHWFF is dedicated to physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. With over 200 volunteer-run programs nationwide, PHWFF brings a high-quality, full-spectrum fly fishing program to an ever-expanding number of participants. PHWFF partners with the Veterans Health Administration, military medical facilities, military transition units and wounded warrior regiments in local communities throughout the country.

PHWFF is recognized as an innovative leader and model in the field of therapeutic outdoor recreation for the disabled through its successful application of the sport of fly fishing as a rehabilitation tool. The NPR focused on training, empowering and collaborating with the organization’s most precious resource: its volunteers.

Over 200 volunteer leaders, staff and Board of Trustees gathered for two days of training and collaboration aimed at providing consistent therapeutic experiences at each PHWFF program across the country. Special guest speakers at the NPR included Veterans Health Administration, Director of Voluntary Services, Sabrina Clark; Bob Woodruff Foundation, Director of Programs and Partnerships, Meg Harrell; VA Central Office, Voluntary Service Specialist, Ginny Hoover; South Texas Veteran Healthcare System, Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Larry Stokes; Host of The SeaHunter, Rob Fordyce; and key members of the PHWFF leadership team.

Training sessions for volunteer leaders focused on key areas of importance to further the PHWFF mission and included: Forming Partnerships with VA Voluntary Service, How to Be Successful and Why it Matters; Operation S.A.V.E. Program, Suicide Prevention Training; Casting Competition Demonstration; Regional and Program Fundraising; the Contact Relationship Management System; and more.

It is the volunteers of PHWFF that have enabled the organization to serve thousands of disabled veterans each year by bringing a unique brand of healing to their communities through fly fishing activities and outings. PHWFF transcends fly fishing – it builds relationships where much healing occurs.

This was the second NPR since PHWFF was founded in 2005. The eagerness to learn and excitement during the conference was palpable throughout the weekend. With training, team building, and sharing of best practices during NPR, PHWFF volunteer leadership will continue to serve more disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans throughout the United States in the decades to come.