A very close friend of mine, and exceptional guide, Ryan Johnston came to me about a year ago with an idea to start a non profit organization. I must admit when I heard the words "non profit" from some one who is in their mid 20's, who has a Business degree from Davis, and a Masters in Business from Chico I thought maybe ole' Ryan had hit his head or spent way to many days confined in a boat in the sun. I also began to question the quality of education the business department at davis and my alma matter Chico was cranking out. Basiclly I thought anyone that wants to buy a house, start a family, and not be completely broke while paying off student loans would not start a non profit, guys that have made fortunes and need tax write offs start non profits.
Well over the last year I have watched him build this thing he calls Cast Hope from a simple idea talked about over beers to a full fledged 503(c) IRS approved non profit with a .org website, T-Shirts, Stationary, a board of directors, big money donations, and most of all a living working business.
You ask what it does?? well this is how Ryan puts it, "Cast Hope is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aiming to positively impact the local Northern California community through the donation of guided fly fishing trips on Putah Creek, Sacramento, Feather, Yuba, and Trinity Rivers. Through each guided fly fishing trip it is our mission to foster and deepen relationships; refresh hearts, minds, and souls; create long-lasting, joyful memories; and provide opportunities for learning, loving, and reaching out."
How I see it: Cast hope is a group of guides that takes youth and adults on guided fishing trips for free and helps spread fly fishing and a love for the outdoors to those that need a little of it in their lives.
Yes I am involved as one of the guides for cast hope, but don't think much of that as when a friend like Ryan asks me to do something there is little I would say no to.
Why I bring this up here on the board is a) I don't think Ryan would "toot his own horn" b) it is a great organization and idea Ryan has and c) I was reading on American Angler online and they were having a survey as to the "up and coming people" in the fly fishing industry. Tiers, guides, photographers, etc. and one of the qualifications was that the person must be under 40 years old. Now no knock on those around or over 40 but when 40 years old is the bench mark for "up an coming" you have a sport or industry that is in serious trouble and in need of youth. The bottom line is that more people are dieing that fly fish than that are starting and that is a serious demographic issue. In an age where kids are glued to screens, whether it be video games, cell phones, or computers, and if the sport doesn't have extreme infront of it most aren't interested fly fishing is loosing a generation. I believe what Ryan is doing by introducing fly fishing to a generation that may never know it is an admirable thing and one that is criticly important to the industry and those that love the sport.
I know many fly clubs and organizations are involved in spreading our sport to the younger generations and I commend your work. If it wasn't for groups like you I would not have ever known the sport. There was a small group of guys from Nevada City, CA that took a chance on me a punk looking skater kid they saw one day in the fly shop and taught me everything they knew and I will be indebted to them the rest of my life for that. I think because of that I feel a bit bound to spread the sport and help younger people get involved. So.... as long winded as this seems... kudos to Ryan and check out what he is doing....hire a young guide.....talk to the youngest person you see in the fly shop.....take a kid fishing.....spread the sport.....The sport we love, the places we cherish, the shops we frequent, and the companies we like depend on it.