We believe in the healing power of water. Our program combines the passion for fly fishing of our volunteers with the rivers, streams and lakes of Colorado to enable physical and emotional healing for disabled veterans in the Pikes Peak region.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing – Colorado Springs (PHWFF – COS) introduces disabled veterans to fly fishing, as well involving them in fly tying, rod building classes and monthly meetings, we engage them in a lifelong sport and reconnect them to a team and community that is often missing from their post-service lives.
Project Healing Waters is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans, through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings.
Since 2007, Project Healing Waters – Colorado Springs has grown into one of the largest of 211 Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing programs, because of our close ties to the military community, a commitment to serve our local disabled service members and veterans, and the support and involvement of top notch fly fishing and anglers. We currently serve over 350 participants with the support of over 200 amazing volunteers, our donors and the members and organizations associated with the local fly fishing community.
About a dozen years ago, Navy veteran Ed Nicholson was at Walter Reed Hospital for cancer treatment. He saw the young people around him, severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, and thought to himself: “I’m going to go out and fish. I bet some of these guys would like to join me.”
That was the beginning of Project Healing Waters, an organization where dedicated volunteers teach wounded vets fly fishing, to help them recuperate. With over 200 chapters across the United States, this privately funded organization offers the restorative grace of fly fishing, replacing isolation with the opportunity for the engagement of life on the river. A few hours fishing in the great outdoors may not wash away a war, but our vets learn the waters can heal, if you let them. Some say it builds a bridge back, because for some, the journey has been a desperate one.
“When I became a part of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, I had no idea what to expect. I have since found a feeling of belonging, giving and accomplishment as a volunteer/mentor that I have not felt with any other program. There is a brother and sisterhood among our participants that I have become part of…What this program does for participants is really hard to describe, let it just be said that there really is a soothing, healing quality with the water and what we as volunteers / mentors do for our brothers and sisters and what they do for us.”
“I was outfitted with a rod and net and my mentor trained me how to cast and I practiced for awhile with some weight until I got the hang of it. He then taught me how to tie on leader and flies and secure an indicator. I think with a lot more practice and some more mentoring with a volunteer as experienced and patient as Dave, I might become a decent fly fisherman…I had a wonderful time and my head was filled with fishing tips that I will endeavor to practice. I am looking forward to having an experience with moving water. Thank you PHWFF for a wonderful experience. “
“Angler’s Covey has been involved with Project Healing Waters for a number of years and the reason is quite simple: It is a small way that we can give back to those who have given so much. We know that being out on the water, away from the stresses of life, experiencing adventure and joy is beneficial physically, emotionally, and spiritually – how much more so for those who have experienced the challenges and tragedies of military service. We are blessed to be a tiny part of their story.”
Are you a veteran looking to connect with nature with fellow veterans? Learn the basics of fly fishing with our Colorado Springs PHWFF program and open the door to many opportunities to attend local fishing outings. We hold classes on fly tying, fly casting, rod building, and conduct fly fishing outings year-round.
PHWFF-Colorado Springs relies on the valuable hours and expertise of dedicated volunteers to accomplish our mission. We need anglers, fly tiers, rod builders, casting teachers, photographers, cooks, and administrative personnel to execute our mission and deliver support to our veterans.
Like any non-profit, we rely on generous donations, financial and services support from Colorado businesses, organizations, trusts, and individuals to pay for the equipment, supplies and services needed to serve our participants. We appreciate every donation, regardless of size or frequency.