Eric Syverson (left) and Spencer White (right) have attended FTGF retreats as both participants and volunteers, and they bring a wealth of insight as to what you can expect during these life-changing experiences. Here are their thoughts:
What is the value of attending a FTGF retreat?
Attending a FTGF retreat can be an experience of profound and lasting impact. Throughout the weekend, the retreat serves as a powerful reminder that everyone is navigating life's ups and downs, collectively striving to show up as better men. The mindful time spent together fosters a strong sense of community, influencing not only the approach to mental health but also cultivating lifelong friendships.
Can you provide more details about the fly fishing skills taught during the retreats, especially for beginners?
FGTF ensures comprehensive coverage of fly fishing skills, addressing everything from entomology to basic casting, line rigging, weights, indicators, and understanding fish behavior. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned angler, the retreat caters to all experience levels, providing on-stream education and valuable time with experienced fishing buddies. Seasoned anglers have the opportunity to refine their skills by pairing up with equally passionate counterparts, making the educational experience top-notch for all participants.
What are the therapeutic benefits of fly fishing for guys that attend retreats?
The greatest therapeutic benefit of fly fishing lies in the time spent on the water and being outdoors. Standing in a river serves as the ultimate space for decompression after emotional group sessions and provides an outlet for releasing held trauma. Additionally, the primal aspect of catching a fish adds to the therapeutic experience. Fly fishing offers an opportunity to step away from the daily grind, providing a chance to enjoy nature, cultivate friendships, and share in the excitement of hopefully catching some fish!
Is there flexibility in the schedule for participants to engage in self-reflection or explore the natural surroundings independently?
Absolutely! During the day if a participant wants to fish solo, walk up and down the bank or just sit on a rock, we will always provide the needed space for them. All they have to do is holler if they need more flies or advice.
How do you ensure that individuals with varying levels of experience in fly fishing feel comfortable and included?
Whether you have never fly fished a day in your life or just need some tips, we are here to help. There will be a couple of seminars during the weekend about bugs and reading water, but most instruction will be one-on-one with a volunteer. And, if you are an experienced angler you will get paired with someone you can nerd out with about tight line nymphing, streamers on a sink tip, and technical tail water fishing. Fly fishing can be a challenging endeavor, whether it's your first day or you've been at it for 20 years, which is why it pairs so well with personal growth.