IGFA Teaches 100,000 Youth Around the World to Fish!
In 2018 the IGFA announced an extremely ambitious goal to teach 100,000 youth around the world to fish to build the next generation of ethical, educated, and accomplished anglers. This initiative not only required new programs, but also an international expansion of our youth education programs that had previously been limited to South Florida. We are extremely excited and proud to report that earlier this month, this goal has been achieved!
To accomplish this initiative, three avenues were established:
- Develop and distribute IGFA Passports to Fishing kits (fishing clinics in a box) to our international network of supporters and education partners.
- Create a series of online angling education modules and virtual fishing programs to teach the basics of recreational fishing and the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship.
- Partner with like-minded organizations and educational institutions that share similar missions and values when it comes to youth angling education.
The first IGFA Passports to Fishing kit was sent to Malaysia in March 2019, the online Intro to Fishing course was created and launched in May 2019, and partnerships with the National Park Service and the Boy Scouts of America were solidified.
Momentum continued to build into the year 2020 with in-person education events, specifically the Passports to Fishing program, which had expanded to 21 countries on six continents. And then, the COVID-19 global pandemic hit. For the next few months, all in-person education came to a halt and became very limited for the next two years. Although the pandemic may have slowed efforts, it did not stop them. With in-person events grinding to a halt, our newly developed online and virtual fishing resources boomed as the world came under a “new normal.”
Despite the pandemic slowing the execution of events, the IGFA’s Passports to Fishing program continued to expand around the world with people anxious to host programs once restrictions were lifted. By the end of 2021, kits were in 32 different countries. With the kit materials in hand, the recipients took the time to plan and coordinate with community partners so when conditions were safe, they were ready to host events. The IGFA also began creating Virtual Fishing Field Trips to accommodate for the reduced in-person education events as did several other education partners and members of the IGFA’s network.
Finally, in June 2022 around the IGFA’s 83rd anniversary, the 100,000th child was taught for IGFA Day! Event reports are still coming in from other locations, but a few known events occurred in the United States, Greece, the Philippines, and the first-ever in Iran.
Although our initiative to teach 100,000 kids to fish is complete, the work is not done! This initiative was a catalyst for the IGFA to expand our youth-angling education programs internationally and diversify our approach to teaching kids to fish in an ethical, conservation-minded way. In the last four years, our programs have grown significantly and have expanded internationally, and we have advanced great relationships with our network of supporters and angling educators around the world. The end result was 100,000 youth taught from 70 different countries.
The IGFA will continue its work on educating new generations of ethical anglers around the world. The Passports to Fishing program will continue as it has been one of the main tools in this initiative to educate anglers, traveling to nearly 40 countries with translations into 14 languages so far. The number of online angling education resources will increase to become more relevant to geographical locations around the world. Lastly, the IGFA will continue to work with like-minded organizations as we are all working toward the same goal: to promote responsible, ethical angling practices for game fish, conservation and the preservation of aquatic habitats for future generations.
Thank you to all who supported these efforts, worked tirelessly, persevered through the frustrations of the pandemic, and who hosted successful events for youth and families in their communities. These events have created lifelong connections to the outdoors and our beloved sport.
Lastly, thank you to the following program supporters: