Teens to Trails, the Merrymeeting Bay section of Trout Unlimited, and the Brunswick Recreation Center are offering a new after-school program where children in grades 6-8 can learn fly fishing skills, including casting, rigging, and angling. identification of insects.
Teens to Trails executive director Alicia Heyburn led a successful program through Brunswick Rec called Winter Explorers, according to a press release.
“My middle school group loved spending time outdoors together this winter, and I wanted to help Brunswick Rec provide engaging outdoor programs each season,” Heyburn said. “Jeff Bush, President of the Merrymeeting Bay TU Chapter, was looking for ways to engage young fly anglers, and he seized the opportunity. I’m thrilled to see him come together and hope it inspires more programs outdoors at recreation centers across the state.
“This could be a model for other TU chapters across the state and country to create opportunities for our youth through partnership,” Bush said.
The fly fishing workshop will be led by members of Trout Unlimited and Maine Women Flyfishers, who have a combined 150 years of fishing experience.
Chief Casting Instructor Mary Ostrowski is certified by Fly Fishers International, a group that supports best practices and conservation in the sport of fly fishing. Eric Frohmberg, is an entomologist who produces a podcast called Angler’s Entomology, which deals with aquatic insects, their way of life and survival. Other instructors have made careers in teaching and coaching.
While Teens to Trails and Trout Unlimited hope kids will learn a skill for life, the workshop’s goal is to connect middle school students with each other and with the outdoors through an engaging experience. Heyburn hopes more communities will adopt outdoor recreation programs based on exploration and play for teens.
“Beyond organized sports, teens now need encouragement to spend time outdoors together. The structure can be loose because their imagination is spectacular, once you let them know the goal is to play,” Heyburn said.
The workshop will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from April 26 to June 2, from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. at Brunswick Junior High School. All equipment and materials will be provided. The course is open to residents and non-residents of Brunswick. To learn more or to register, visit brunswickme.org/parks-recreation. Class size is limited to 10.