Casting for Recovery Retreat Lake Arrowhead
This was my first retreat as a staff member. Previously, I had participated as a River Helper. My responsibility for this event was Hospitality Chair. I was responsible for all the non fishing , non medical needs of the participants. Snacks to eat, liquids to drink, escorting participants to their rooms were some of my duties.
There were a total of ten staff members. They consisted of a Retreat Leader, Sharon Richardson, whom some of you may know since she works with Guy Jeans at the Kern River Fly shop. Bonnie Anderson , who spoke at our club was Project leader. We had two nurses, one therapist and two flyfishing instructors. Two of the staff were from National, acting as advisors since this was our first retreat.
Friday night was introductions and fitting for waders and boots.
Saturday was flyfishing instruction. They had two casting sessions on the lawn. The classroom sessions introduced them to their gear, knots, and bugs on the water. The whole staff helped with these lessons. Saturday was a very busy day. Saturday evening the flyfishing staff met to repair the reels and mangled leaders. While we were doing that, the participants met for a informal support group session led by the therapist and medical staff.
Sunday was the best day of all. After breakfast, the River helpers arrived. The ladies put on their waders and boots and vests. We met at a private lake that had been donated to the retreat. It is Grass Valley Lake and has Blue Gills and Bass. Although we would have preferred a site with running water, this location proved to be perfect. Wading was easy and Bluegills were fun to catch. The River helpers were awesome. One that stands out is Freddy Ramirez who is a guide out of Fresno and helps the Healing Waters program. He has taught flyfishing to many of the Healing Waters participants who have disabilities. He was paired with our participant that had the most physical problems.
My overall impression was that the participants enjoyed the weekend.
They really were serious about learning flyfishing. Quite a few fished with their families but that was bait fishing. A few mentioned how jealous their husbands were that they had this opportunity to learn flyfishing. We told them about the local clubs in their area. One of the participants said that she and her husband plan on joining our club. I hope you all get a chance to meet her.
Was the retreat religious? No. Was it political? No. Was it emotional? Yes. This retreat truly succeeded in giving these cancer victims a chance to relax and enjoy. I was very humbled to be a part of this effort.