The new nonprofit, launched in 2012, provides fly-fishing trips to empower children of abuse and neglect with amazing experiences and a new perspective.
Irwin, Idaho (November 5, 2012) – “A trip of a lifetime.” That’s how one young man describes his trip this fall with On River Time. Besides experiencing the thrill of reeling in a 22-inch rainbow trout for the first time, he spent three days making new friends, tackling new challenges, sharing new successes with his mentors, learning new facts about the river’s ecosystem—and, of course, moose-spotting.
On September 30, 2012, two young men, ages 14, and their mentors, traveled more than 1,750 miles from Alabama to Irwin, Idaho, and met another young man, aged 11, who was accompanied by his father. This young man from Jackson, Wyoming attends C-V Ranch, a residential school and treatment facility for youth whose educational needs are not met by their local communities.
The group spent three nights and two days at The Lodge at Palisades Creek, a renowned Orvis fly-fishing lodge on the South Fork of the Snake River. A generous partner, The Lodge, donated accommodations and all fly guides volunteered their time. The staff went above and beyond to make it an incredible experience for these boys—Lodge Manager Justin Hays hosted educational workshops on fly-tying, organized campfires and led the group in a practice session at the casting pond before hitting the water. Hays and the guides not only taught the group the basics of a good cast, they imparted some lessons learned from the sport and life in general: “The thing you have to remember about fly-fishing—It’s not all about catching fish. It’s about being there in the moment and enjoying the company,” Hayes says.
During their time on the Snake, each boy was paired with their father or mentor and fished from a drift boat with an experienced fly guide who shared essential fly-fishing skills as well facts about the river and its ecosystem.
Each team of two angled to bring in the most fish for the On River Time Fishing Challenge. Points were awarded for the most fish, with an extra bonus for achieving “A Grand Slam,” the accomplishment of hooking a rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout in one day. “I thought it was very awesome—and a blessing. I want to come back next year and do it again,” one young angler remarked.
Evenings were spent around the campfire, trading stories of the day or tossing the football with former University of Alabama and NFL quarterback, Brodie Croyle, who had traveled to support two of the boys from Big Oak Ranch. “To see all three of these boys grow not only as fishermen, but to see them grow in their relationships and to be able to witness that was truly something special. I look forward to doing it in years to come,” Brodie Croyle said.
On River Time works with reputable nonprofits to identify children who can benefit most from the fly-fishing experience. The trip is a privilege for those selected and an incentive for keeping their standards high both in terms of schoolwork and behavior. Our partner, Big Oak Ranch, an Alabama Christian home for children needing a chance, has been in operation since 1974 and has seen more than 1,800 children graduate from their program. Immediately after the trip, Founder and Executive Director John Croyle had this to say: “Every time I see the boys, they both break into briar eating grins, the kind reserved for real joy in a boy’s heart. You will never know the life changing experience you have given these two boys; they literally will never be the same.”
The trip gives nonprofit directors who struggle with limited funds a way to offer more educational and recreational experiences to the children in their care. But it provides much more than that: the chance for children to cast away their cares and realize a beautiful world through fishing and an appreciation of nature; the chance for to learn a new skill and find success at accomplishing a challenge; and the chance to travel and connect with others from different parts of the country to realize they are not alone.
Currently, On River Time is raising funds to bring the second group of children to The Lodge at Palisades Creek in July of 2013, and is recruiting professionals from the fly-fishing community to volunteer their expertise for educational sessions.
The founder of On River Time, Steve Davis, a fly-fisherman with more than 22 years of experience, recounts what this trip meant to him: “Watching these three young men on the river lifted my heart and whether they realize it or not, they reminded me so much about life. Showing up and trying still makes all the difference.”
About On River Time:
On River Time is a 501(c) (3) dedicated to creating an uplifting environment for children of abuse and neglect, empowering them through the experiences of fly-fishing and appreciating nature. Organized in the spring of 2012 and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, On River Time reaches children from all over the nation and provides youth and their parents or guardians three nights and two days of fly-fishing at The Lodge at Palisades Creek, located in Swan Valley, Idaho, on the banks of the picturesque Snake River, tucked in the shadows of the beautiful Grand Tetons. With the help of our generous partners and donors, On River Time supplies all the funds for air travel, fishing accommodations and gear. To learn more, visit www.onrivertime.org.
To request an interview with Steve Davis, Founder of On River Time; Justin Hays, Manager of The Lodge at Palisades Creek; or John Croyle, Executive Director and Founder of Big Oak Ranch, please contact On River Time’s media relations director, Jeana Durst at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-936-2865.