Kids on the Fly, Northwest N.J. is a volunteer run group dedicated to passing on the art, history and enjoyment of fly tying on to younger generations. The Northwest, N.J. Chapter is run by Nicole March and Robert Hopken.
“The art of fly tying, as with anything in life that we enjoy; is a never-ending learning experience which continues to grow right along with us as we get older. We find ourselves up all night spending countless hours behind the vise tying up patterns we hope will bring fish to our nets, fishing every minute we can, attending shows, watching seminars, asking questions and deciphering the answers, reading books and sifting through the history of what came before us; all while trying to retain what we have taken in so we can apply it to our own personal use on the water.
We have all seen first hand the positive influence that fly fishing has had on our own lives, anyone who has worked with/participated in Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc./ Casting for Recovery or the many volunteer organizations which promote healing through tying and fishing; knows how much of an impact it really has. It creates and opens up a whole new world. Someone who once felt like they were one, now has an entirely new community to converse with. Working with my Project Healing Waters chapter has repeatedly proven this time and time again with new participants. We also meet countless people in our travels, some of which turn into friendships with that stay with us throughout our lives. We even find that over time we have created these extended families in the fly fishing industry that we look forward to seeing at events, that we laugh with and share stories with.
How many times have you and your friends joked around saying things like ” I could be doing a lot worse things right now than mousing on the Delaware in the middle of the night”, “Well, there’s worse things that I could be addicted to than fishing”, “I can think of worse ways to spend $100 than tying material!”
Humans have addictive personalities, there is almost no way around it and you will see it everywhere you look. No matter if its good or bad, when its becomes addiction, your mind gets a hold of it and you will continue doing it. Then it will become something which is hard to break it. We see it all the time and it comes in many forms; from the more “socially acceptable” types such as a caffeine, nicotine, fishing, exercising and social media addiction; to the ones which make someone immediately want to change the subject. That subject? The heroin epidemic that has been taking Americas youth by storm for quite some time.
Sadly Sussex County, New Jersey is no stranger to this. Every newspaper you look through shows the aftermath of drug use and you will be hard-pressed to meet someone who hasn’t been affected by it in someway or another; whether directly or indirectly. No matter where you live it seems to be creeping into communities across the map. While many people choose to simply ignore it hoping the problem will go away on its own, or hold the “not my problem. let the cops will deal with it.” mentality; the bottom line is, that the most effective way to fight it in my opinion, is to try and keep it from starting. It’s one hell of an problem at the moment and if you want to see a change in your community or anywhere for that matter; you cant sit back and wait for someone else to do it.
As we all know; kids of every age need positive support systems as they go through their adolescent years. But that’s just one piece of the puzzle because as important as it is having a supportive family around; not everyone has that. Yet Even if they do, they will still need to have something that will stimulate their mind when they are left alone with only their thoughts to pass the time after school and on weekends. They need something to look forward to, something that will make them think and problem solve, something that will occupy their creative minds the way it does ours when we get behind a vise or on the water. Passing along this knowledge and history to others is not only something that I enjoy; its something that I truly believe is a necessity for our youth in more ways than one. If you can plant a seed in the mind of a child who later finds themselves completely engulfed in the art of tying and fishing, then maybe that will be the seed that continues to grow into something positive as they get older.
I hope that this Kids On The Fly – Northwest N.J. chapter becomes one more program for our community to utilize when it comes to giving kids a better addiction to embrace.” -Nicole March
Classes are free for kids and all materials and tools supplied! Classes will be held the 1st Saturday of the month at White Water Flies in Lafayette, NJ from 9am to 11:30am.