On River Time raised more than $158,000 at its yearly Fish On fundraiser via tickets and live auction on October 26. Because of this success, two fly-fishing camp sessions in Idaho will be fully funded for participants from Still Creek Ranch in Bryan, TX and Big Oak Ranch in Springville, AL. The event was hosted at the Florentine in Birmingham.
The Fish On Fundraiser has propelled the mission of On River Time since the first in 2014, changing the lives of abused and neglected children through fly fishing and mentoring.
“This event has consistently raised well over $100,000, and it has directly allowed the nonprofit to create new programs to inspire leadership throughout the year, host fly fishing camps, purchase graduation gifts and provide scholarships,” said Executive Director Jeana Durst. “The donor base has kept pace with the refinement of the organization and programming. As a result, campers and partners know On River Time will be there for them,”
On River Time has also been able to increase numbers of campers, mentors and camp sessions. The board of directors was even emboldened to begin building an On River Time cabin at the Lodge at Palisades Creek in 2016, now complete.
Founder Steve Davis opened the evening by presenting the first ever “Casting Arc” award, which refers to the perfect fly fishing cast. The Casting Arc is presented to those who offer their specialized expertise to benefit On River Time. Jim Archibald of Bradley was awarded the honor for donating legal services dating to the inception of On River Time, as he helped the organization become a 501(3)(c) in 2012. Ever since his support and legal knowledge has been invaluable. Archibald spoke about being lucky to find such a unique way to impact children who will take full advantage of new experiences. His son, a fly-fishing expert, donated a box of hand-tied flies to the event.
Prior to the auction, keynote speaker John Croyle, founder of Big Oak Ranch, emphasized the impact of On River Time’s yearly Fish On camp on his kids. Most have never even been on an airplane, so this experience wakes them up to larger possibilities. As an example, he noted that one previous camper had just returned from her summer job at the Lodge at Palisades Creek where she had made happy memories two years ago. Croyle brought with him two exceptional campers from years past, who spoke extemporaneously about memories, serious and humorous, before one of them asked the blessing.
Dave Zelski, host and Producer of the Discovery’s Destination Americas series Angler and Appetites, presented a teaser clip of the On River Time episode from this camp this year. He discussed how the episode he did last year featuring Fish On camp infused the show with heart, and that his crew made personal connections with the campers that they will never forget. This gave them the impetus to do another episode. He credited the camp programming and unique place as a catalyst for kids’ opening up. “I have river rocks signed by everyone from the 2016 and 2017 camps next to a baby picture of my child—so that’s how much the experience meant to me.”
Guin Robinson hosted the live auction that included international trips, hunting getaways, sports tickets, and a few hand crafted home items.
About On River Time
On River Time exists to change the lives of children who have survived abuse and neglect. A registered 501 (C)(3) organization, it uses fly fishing and mentorship to provide middle and high school aged children with hope and the inspiration to dream big. While the program is grounded in an unforgettable fly fishing trip, On River Time’s mentor network supports participants throughout the year in a way that cultivates their ability to trust and instills a heightened sense of value.
Selecting participants from reputable nonprofit partners, On River Time pays all expenses for these young people and their guardians to enjoy fly fishing at The Lodge at Palisades Creek on the banks of the Snake River in Idaho. They also learn about river conservation and tour National Parks. More importantly, they make connections with others who uniquely understand them. On River Time, founded in 2012, is based in Birmingham, Alabama and currently serves children from Big Oak Ranch in Springville, Alabama and Still Creek Ranch in Bryan, Texas. On River Time is a “For Impact” organization.