There’s no secret behind my history in Scouting, and I will always look proudly back on my time in the program. I started as a Tiger, proceeded through Cub Scouts, and ultimately became an Eagle Scout. Along that journey, I gained skills in the Boy Scouts that I use and have used every day of my life. The program taught me to be a leader, a friend, and a member of a community – and though my family instilled a deep appreciation for the natural world early on, in Scouting I became a passionate steward of wild places, and a conservation driven outdoorsman.
In 2002, the BSA added the ‘Fly Fishing‘ Merit Badge – complimenting the long-standing and frequently sought ‘Fishing‘ merit badge. This past year, they expanded their program by rolling out the ‘Complete Angler’ award, through which boys are offered special recognition when they earned these two badges in combination with the ‘Fish and Wildlife Management‘ badge. Through this program, boys are required (among other things) to understand the importance of Catch-and-Release, to demonstrate understanding of proper techniques in playing and landing fish, and to have a clear appreciation for the importance of conservation and the protection of resources.
In June of 2014, the BSA also rolled out new requirements for their co-ed Venturing program – wherein the Ranger award can be earned by completing an elective where one of the options focuses on fly fishing. The requirements for this are similarly targeted to teaching life-long skills steeped in conservation and outdoor ethics.
For many who approach the programs, this may be / often is their first exposure to Fly Fishing – and for some, to fishing in general. Can you imagine how strong the next generation of anglers would be if all started their experience with a foundation like this?
The future lies in the actions we take today – and this opportunity is one that cannot be ignored. Irregardless of your own background in / out of Scouting, you can make a difference in the lives of our young men / women by sharing your passion and knowledge. This is a captive audience that genuinely WANTS to learn – and they need guides to lead them.
To my colleagues in the fly fishing industry – to my customers – to fellow anglers – please reach out to your local council, and sign up to become a counselor for the Fly Fishing merit badge. Help our youth learn skills that will broaden their lives – and help build the next generation of responsible anglers today.
Founder, Vedavoo Gear
Boy Scout Council Office Locator
Merit Badge Counselor Form
Fly Fishing Merit Badge Counselor Guide
Complete Angler Award Application
Fishing Merit Badge Requirements
Fly Fishing Merit Badge Requirements
Fish and Wildlife Management Merit Badge Requirements