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Future Angler Foundation: a decade of dedication

by Future Angler Foundation 20 Oct 16:00 UTC
Future Angler Foundation celebrates 10-years of expanding participation in fishing and boating through outreach and education © Future Angler Foundation

Enter the no lip service zone. A decade ago, getting-outdoors advocate Pat Neu manifested his passion for growing the sports of fishing and boating into the creation of the Future Angler Foundation (FAF).

Today, after innumerable successes along the way, Neu, FAF President, remains committed to the noble cause.

"Our mission has always been clearcut - to recruit and develop new anglers and boaters," said Neu. "And with FAF, it's forever been with grassroots efforts, helping organize and support volunteers who donate their time and expertise to host events and establish fishing and boating educational programs. FAF serves as a hub to support these efforts. FAF is there to maximize participation and outcomes for local initiatives...and we do it all across the country."

Proof in the pudding, FAF has supported over 1,000 Future Angler and Boater Events (FABE) since its inception, attended by over 100,000 participants in 120 cities nationwide.

Neu talks about how FAF supports fishing and boating events and programs. "It all starts with education," he said. "Every endeavor has an educational component. That can range from a water safety message to fish ecology, to how to cast without getting snarled."

FAF supported outreach comes in a range of forms, too. Sometimes, it's angling or boating professionals interacting with families and kids at events like fishing tournaments or boating clinics held at a local or state park. The platform FAF volunteers share their fishing and boating messages is broad and year-round, to include YMCA's and YWCA's, public schools, fishing clubs, church groups, county fairs, U.S. Forest Service Lands, fishing piers and watersides, even on the ice during the long winter months in the north.

Beyond grassroots - boots on the ground - FAF invests in the Into the Outdoors Education Network and collaborates to produce their Getting Families Fishing and Boating (GFFB) television program. The GFFB series reached nearly 50 Million new and participating anglers and boaters in 2021, airing nine episodes on 163 channels, including Into the Outdoors on PBS in numerous markets nationally.

So, what does the FAF's next decade look like? "Our model is successful, and now we want to scale it exponentially, recruiting and reactivating even more anglers and boaters," said Neu. "I truly believe we can do so 20 to 30-fold both in-person and with our digitally distributed curriculum and short videos, not to mention the ongoing nationwide television programming."

In closing, Neu said, "Ultimately, I don't want volunteers and educational programs to be held back by lack of funds to purchase the product they need to support their efforts. From the very beginning, our vision has been to have FAF become the universal support system for the thousands of volunteers who share their knowledge and passion freely to help create new anglers and boaters."

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