There are plenty of unhealthy influences and images circulating around in the media and in our day-to-day lives these days. One question we might ask is, how do these negative influences impact the teenage members of our society? And, are there enough positive role models and organized outdoor activities for teens to get involved with to offset the negative influences? There probably isn’t one concrete answer to either question, but it is a fact that there are changes that take place in the adolescent brain which lead to increased vulnerability.
According to the June 2013 Special Report on Fishing and Boating released by the Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation, the number of new female fishing participants dropped off between the ages of 13 and 24 during the year 2012. The Freedom Waters Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Naples, FL, hopes to help increase those numbers by continuing a program that teams female angler role models with teenage girls for a day of fishing and education.
Every fall, volunteers for the organization take 30 teen girls out on the waters of Naples Bay during the Freedom Waters Foundation Heels & Reels Girls Fishing Tournament. The unique part of this tournament is that experienced female anglers mentor and encourage the teen girls. Most of the teens have never been on a boat or fished before the event, but quickly learn how to tie knots, rig baits, measure fish, and how to properly revive and release their catches… making the reasons that we should all pitch in and take teens fishing even more clear.
- Fishing and boating related activities provide a day of “digital detox” when teens can be away from cell phones and computers.
- New fishing and boating skills can help teens start to appreciate their individuality and unique skill set.
- Fishing activities help teens learn more about marine biology, specific species, fish habitats, the environment and local weather patterns.
- Fishing and boating activities encourage a sense of camaraderie among mentors and peers.
- Fishing or boating activities can be a good form of relaxation and are a healthy place to turn when teens feel peer pressure or if they are experiencing stresses at home.
Are you a parent or a mentor to a teenager? Do you have suggestions or thoughts regarding other boating and fishing skills that can be taught to teens? Have you witnessed the positive effects on a teen after a day of fishing? We invite you to provide your feedback in the Take Me Fishing Community.