Fishing

Photo contributed

Fishing is now one of the most popular merit badges today’s scouts work to achieve.

The International Game Fish Association and the Boy Scouts of America recently announced a new partnership focused on youth angling education. The details of this partnership outlines each organizations’ shared objective of introducing youth to the joys of fishing and educating them on how to be ethical anglers and stewards of the environment.

Specifically, they’ve detailed how the IGFA will work with the BSA on developing and executing their angling-focused programs by sharing youth education curricula and materials as needed. All scouts who complete their BSA Fishing and Fly-Fishing Merit Badges will be included in the IGFA’s initiative to teach 100,000 kids to fish and will receive a custom certificate from the IGFA.

“Establishing meaningful partnerships with longstanding and reputable organizations like the Boy Scouts of America provides us with a great opportunity to expand the reach and impact of our youth education initiatives,” said IGFA President Nehl Horton. “We look forward to working closely with the BSA to accomplish the important work of developing the next generation of ethical anglers.”

Scouting programs are generalized in that all Boy Scouts are taught basic skills, mostly centered on outdoor pursuits such as first aid, camping, outdoor cooking and others as they progress through the ranks from Tenderfoot to higher ranks during their scouting career. However, along the way, scouts can earn Merit Badges by becoming proficient in dozens of specialized interests such as photography, weather, dog care or any of more than 100 other categories.

About 10 years ago BSA’s added fishing as a possible merit badge and instituted a Certified Angling Instructor initiative to guide scouts through their fishing program. There are now almost 1,500 certified instructors across the country trained to bring Scouting youth better opportunities to learn and enjoy fishing. The IGFA was instrumental in launching the CAI program nearly ten years ago. To date, the BSA has awarded over two million Fishing Merit Badges and the program continues to be among the most popular of the merit badges scouts can choose to earn.

“We are very happy to again work together with IGFA to reach common goals by introducing fishing to the Scouting youth,” said BSA National Fishing Committee Chairman Ben Jelsema. “These Scouts will enjoy learning the art of fishing while becoming environmentally responsible.”

The announcement of this new partnership came as the IGFA participated in fishing activities that were taking place during the 24th World Scout Jamboree, an event which brought together 46,000 Scouts from 167 different countries around the world.

Founded in 1939, The International Game Fish Association is a nonprofit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and the promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rule making, record keeping and recognition of outstanding accomplishments in the field of angling. The IGFA maintains world records in freshwater, saltwater, fly-fishing and junior angler categories. The IGFA has members in more than 100 countries.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is one of the largest youth participant organizations in the United States of America with more than 2.4 million participants and nearly one million adult volunteers. The BSA was founded in 1910, and since then, more than 110 million Americans have been participants in BSA programs at some time during their life. The BSA’s goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations.

Fishing is a natural pursuit to include in scouting programs since it can be enjoyed by individuals of any age and any demographic. It’s hoped like other Boy Scout skills learned early in life, those skills will serve the participants the rest of his life.

It has for me. Many of the skills from tying proper knots, to first aid to outdoor cooking which I use constantly were first learned as I was advancing through the ranks when I was a Scout.