Nothing can top the joy of landing your first fish.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation’s Fishing Forever program will continue to deliver that amazing experience throughout B.C. to people with disabilities and their caregivers, thanks to a provincial grant from Disability Alliance BC.
“This grant will help us to make improvements to Fishing Forever events for those with disabilities of all ages,” said David Oliver, BCWF Fishing Forever Chairperson. “To see firsthand the smile on someone’s face when they catch a fish is very rewarding.”
“The Fishing Forever committee will use these funds to host even more events throughout the province and help people with disabilities enjoy the outdoors, appreciate the environment, and land a fish on their own,” he said.
Fish and game clubs associated with the BCWF organize Fishing Forever events in their communities to enable people with disabilities, people living in care homes, and children to experience fishing from a boat or a dock, often using specialized adaptive gear.
“I started out as a Fishing Forever participant and became a co-host of my own event,” said Mike Stiles, co-chair of the Fishing Forever committee. “I co-chair our committee because I have seen so many heartfelt occasions in which people were lifted up and empowered by the event.”
“I have seen a severely disabled teenager who could not cast, learn that he could reel in a fish, which he did many times. He was nonverbal, but shook with excitement and his smile was ear to ear. People from group living environments say they wait all year for Fishing Forever to happen because they love it so much. I even saw my own daughters catch their first fish at FF events.”
The true measure of success is the huge demand to bring Fishing Forever to even more B.C. communities, which is exactly how this money will be used.
The government announcement was timed to celebrate International Day for Persons with Disabilities, which was December 3.
“It was my pleasure to represent the board of Disability Alliance BC on the accessibility project grants review team this year,” said Pam Horton, board director, Disability Alliance BC. “The diversity of the projects and the hope that some will become ongoing services is heartening. It will be exciting to watch these projects over the coming months.”
Twelve B.C.-based non-profit organizations will receive provincial grants for as much as $40,000 each to support community-based projects that advance accessibility and inclusion in B.C.
“With the International Day for Persons with Disabilities tomorrow, I am especially pleased to be announcing this year’s successful recipients,” said Nicholas Simons, former Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This year’s accessibility projects showcase innovative solutions for a barrier-free B.C., an accessible, inclusive province that works for everyone.”
Read more here.