Learn How To Join Project Healing Waters

What Our Program Offers

What can Project Healing Waters do for you? Fly fishing allows a veteran to focus concentration on the task at hand; specifically landing a fish. And this activity is done outdoors, with minimal external stimulation, a welcomed calm and the beauty of a river or stream. Additionally, learning to build a fly rod or fly tying further provides focus for a veteran, and leads to a great sense of accomplishment.

We provide basic fly fishing, fly casting, fly tying, and rod building classes, along with clinics. Participants range from beginners who have never fished before to those with prior fly fishing and tying experience. For many participants, particularly disabled veterans, the socialization and camaraderie of the classes are just as important as the fishing outings, and provide them a new activity.

When you’re fishing, with every cast, there’s hope.

— Heraclitus

“Can’t say enough great things about this program.”

— Andy K., veteran

“As a 24 year army veteran with more than 7 deployments as an armored cavalryman, I was attracted to the opportunity rejoin a team of other veterans in an outdoor setting…Everyone I’ve worked with in the program – volunteers, participants, and hosts – is top notch and there is nothing more therapeutic than standing in a trout stream with a fly rod in your hands.”

“I always wanted to learn fly fishing and I needed something relaxing so I took the chance. What I found was a new passion!”

— Doreen B., veteran

“We are all on a level playing field. I’ve made some great fishing buddies and find myself contacting them for our own fishing excursions. It’s a positive experience that’s not about catching fish but about finding yourself and others like you…It is great being involved with PHWFF because these guys and gals know what it means to depend on one another, share the same experiences as I and, I think, we appreciate each other more for what each other has done and been through. I find the camaraderie better than when I was active duty. We are all just trying to fit into a world that knows nothing of who we are or how to deal with our issues; we are all trying to find our peace; we are all trying to heal.”

How Does The Program Work?

Fishing trips, both one-day and multi-day, are provided free of charge to participants. All fly fishing and tying equipment is provided to the participants at no cost. PHWFF is unique in that our volunteers are teaching classes on an on-going, long term basis. It is much more than a one day fishing trip.

Who qualifies to participate in Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing?

PHWFF Participants are defined as the individuals receiving the benefits of PHWFF program activities (e.g. Fly Fishing 101 classes, casting instruction, fly tying classes, rod building classes and fishing outings, etc.) on an ongoing basis. PHWFF Participants can be Military Service personnel (i.e., Active or Reserve Component, including Reserve and National Guard) or Disabled Veterans who meet our eligibility requirements:

Military Service Personnel must meet both of the following criteria:

  • (a) Is a service member who has been wounded, ill, diseased, injured or obtained a medical condition during their active military service in line of duty. “In line of duty” means a wound, illness, disease, injury or medical condition was incurred during a period of active military service that was not result of the military service member’s own willful misconduct.
  • (b) Is recommended to take part in the PHWFF program by their military health care provider (e.g., military transition unit cadre, doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, etc.) at a Department of Defense (DOD) Hospital, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility, Military Transition Unit (e.g., Warrior Transition Unit, Wounded Warrior Battalion, etc.) or other military designated health care provider as requiring on-going medical treatment that eventually will lead to a disability. Please note that patients currently receiving treatment for any medical condition at any of these facilities that, in the opinion of their medical health provider, will not result in a disability rating are welcome to attend PHWFF activities while they are receiving treatment, will be counted as a participant while receiving treatment but are not eligible to be participants after treatment ends.

Veterans must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • (a) Is a disabled veteran with a disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • (b) Is recommended to take part in your PHWFF program by VA staff, if granted referral authority by local VA leadership (e.g. OIF/OEF Coordinator), or VA medical personnel (e.g., recreational therapist, doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist etc.) at a VA facility (e.g., VA Medical Center, VA Outpatient Clinic, or VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, etc.).
  • (c) Has a Military Service rating and is awaiting their disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Note that a military Service rating is interim proof of eligibility with the understanding that disability rating will be issued.

If you’ve read and meet the minimum qualifications under the requirements for military personnel or for veterans, and you are interested in becoming a participant in our program, please fill out this form. A member of our staff will be in touch soon to help you with next steps. Thanks.

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