(Update: Adding video, comment from ODHS, Mayfly Project mentor)
Mentor says: 'I really can’t imagine how my life would be without it'
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Mayfly Project held a graduation for its Central Oregon students Tuesday evening in Bend.
The organization has a unique way of teaching life skills to children in foster care: fly fishing.
Terry Miller, a lead mentor for the Bend group, says he decided a few years back he wanted to give back to his sport.
“I really can’t imagine how my life would be without it,” Miller told NewChannel 21 on Tuesday.
Emily Kotaich, Resource Family Retention and Recruitment Champion for the Oregon Department of Human Services, said, “The Mayfly Project is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to supporting foster youth with mentorship through fly fishing.”
This past year, the Bend project had five outings, with the final one on Tuesday. Six children ranging from ages 8 to 18 completed all of the programs this season.
Miller said fly fishing actually has a very therapeutic value to some of the kids.
“A trait of a successful fly fisherman is patience,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors and focus on something outside of the chaos of daily life.”
Kotaich said the program provides what these children are missing.
“They’re in kind of a spot where they are needing a little bit extra guidance, and I feel like this program does add that to their lives,” she said.
This was Miller’s third season with the program, and he hopes the fourth can be even bigger.
“We’d like to grow the program for next year,” he said. “This year, we were able to get six kids in our program, and we have room for a lot more.”