Young people who are doing it tough are enjoying the mental, well-being and physical net benefits fishing has to offer thanks to a partnership between “at risk” youth program Youth Futures and Recfishwest.
Funded through our Community Grants Program – students from the Youth Futures Community School in Midland are being given the chance to enjoy fishing through Recfishwest’s SunSmart fishing clinics proudly supported by Healthway and Shimano Australia, which are being run on several locations on the Swan River.
And the ‘Next Cast’ project is proving to be a huge success with the school’s students truly bitten by the fishing bug.
“I’ve been inundated with questions from the students asking where and when the next fishing clinic is taking place because they had so much fun,” said Youth Futures Education Assistant Jonathan Higham.
“We’ve been seeing first-hand the immediate and prolonged benefits that these fishing clinics have been having on our students. Engaging activities out in the fresh air close to nature such as fishing also helps boost the students’ engagement in class. They’ve told us they all really look forward to coming to school when the fishing clinics were coming up.”
Next Cast aims to give alternative learning opportunities to young people who are socially disconnected because of their circumstances and are at risk of falling through the cracks of the education system.
Most importantly it gives them the opportunity to enjoy the social and physical benefits fishing provides, as well as promoting peer support and positive social interaction.
“Different students had different levels of experience,” said Jonathan. “Some of them had never fished before while others were quite skilled and experienced. It resulted in the more experienced helping out the inexperienced, which adds to the social element of it all.”
Recfishwest Fishing Clinics Coordinator Sedin Hasanovic, who has been running the clinics with fellow instructor, Kim Burton said, “Time and time again, we see young people come alive with a rod in their hand at these fishing clinics and the Youth Futures students are no exception. Fishing is such a highly engaging activity and as well as showing them how to fish, our clinics teach participants about fishing sustainably, looking after the environment and being SunSmart.
“It’s been fantastic to see these young people from some tough backgrounds getting into fishing so much – hopefully it can give them some relief from some of the challenges they have to face and maybe sew the seeds for a lifelong passion for fishing just like we have.”
Seven fishing clinics, for young people aged between 12-14 years, took place over the school’s first semester of 2023 at a number of locations in the Swan River, along with metro-based ocean marinas and jetties.
Another 11 fishing clinics are planned for the second semester of 2023 for the schools’ 15-18-year-olds, with a view to making the Next Cast program a permanent fixture of Youth Futures.
Granting wishes to great local projects
Since the Community Grants program began in 2011, Recfishwest has proudly provided more than $500,000 in funding for more than 200 fishing clinics, equipment upgrades, safety training and numerous community-driven fishing projects thanks to funding through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF) and supported by DPIRD.