ALEXANDRIA, VA (November 23, 2010) – In recognition of America’s veterans and those who currently serve in the military, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Take Me Fishing™ campaign has partnered with the Sierra Club’s Water Sentinels and the National Military Fish & Wildlife Association (NMFWA) to give families on military installations an opportunity to experience the great outdoors through fishing. Rod and reel manufacturer Zebco donated more than 500 rods and reels to the program, which otherwise would have fell just short of reaching retail racks.
“Supporting this program was a very natural decision for us,” said Zebco President Jeff Pontius. “By providing the repurposed rods and reels to military families, we not only have the opportunity to show support for our troops, but also engage new anglers in the sport of fishing.”
Take Me Fishing and Zebco shipped the most recent donation to the Sierra Club Water Sentinels who will distribute the rods and reels to members of the National Military Fish & Wildlife Association for repeated use by families on military installations. The NMFWA will communicate this opportunity to its members to solicit additional participation in the program. Since 2009, more than 59,000 youth have benefited from the donation initiative on 17 military bases in 11 states.
“Our goal is to expose youth to the outdoor experience and our members will be thrilled with the opportunity to get youth on military installations involved,” said NMFWA President Tammy Conkle. “The premise of this program encompasses everything we stand for. It’s outstanding.”
“We’re very excited by this partnership,” said Sierra Club Water Sentinels Director Scott Dye. “Together, we’re making a difference in the lives of youth by engaging them in outdoor activities and efforts to clean up and protect America's water resources.”
Since 2005, the Take Me Fishing campaign has played a critical role in helping generate nearly $20 million for state conservation efforts and introducing more than one million youth and newcomers to boating and fishing. The campaign increases awareness of the need to protect, conserve and restore the nation’s aquatic natural resources through encouraging participation in recreational boating and fishing. The rod donation program is a means of both reaching a new audience to build this awareness while at the same time supporting the nation’s troops and their families.
The rods and reels provided by this program will extend the opportunity for outdoors experiences to the nation’s military youth, who may otherwise face barriers such as overseas deployment of parents.
“Our research shows that fishing is recognized as the top 'gateway' activity to other outdoor interests,” said RBFF President & CEO Frank Peterson. “We’re hoping these fishing experiences will have a positive impact on families when given the opportunity to get out and enjoy one of America’s favorite pastimes together.”
To learn more about the program or to donate your own rods and reels, visit http://www.sierraclub.org/watersentinels/.
RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF helps people discover, share and protect the legacy of boating and fishing through national outreach programs including the Take Me Fishing™ campaign and Anglers’ Legacy™.
About the Sierra Club’s Water Sentinels
The Water Sentinels are a program of the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots environmental organization. Sierra Club Water Sentinels work to protect, improve and restore the waters of the United States by fostering alliances to promote water quality monitoring, public education and citizen action. Sierra Club Water Sentinels are also committed to creating outdoor opportunities for youth across the country.