Keep Kids Fishing
In light of difficulties raising much-needed funding to support its programs, the Future Fisherman Foundation (F3) has sought and found a new home with The Bass Federation (TBF), Inc. of Ponca City, Oklahoma. Since 1968, the Federation has been recognized as the oldest and largest organized broad-based, independent, grassroots organization in bass fishing. After weeks of discussion, F3's board of directors and the leadership of TBF approved the merger, which will ensure important F3 programs such as Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs (HOFNOD) continue to be available for educators and youth throughout the U.S. The transfer of all F3's assets to TBF will take place immediately.
"For the last several years, our board members and staff have worked diligently to maintain the health and integrity of F3's important youth fishing education programs despite a poor economy that made fund-raising extremely difficult," F3 board chair, Kerry Campbell, said. "But, lack of funding in recent months made it clear we'd have to think outside the box if we were to continue supporting the dedicated educators nationwide who volunteer to teach fishing to children in almost every state."
The Future Fisherman Foundation Board was excited about the possibility of combining efforts with TBF. The Bass Federation, already one of F3's partners, has long held that getting kids to fish is a number one priority for our sport. "They've made great strides in this direction through their high-school fishing clubs and Student Angler Federation," Campbell commented. "Allowing young students involved in F3's HOFNOD and Physh Ed programs to 'graduate' into these programs seems a logical progression in their education, giving thousands of youth the opportunity to continue enjoying the benefits and joys of fishing into adulthood. We're extremely appreciative the leadership of TBF took this into consideration and merged F3's programs with theirs so our 25-year history as the nation's number-one youth fishing education organization will continue long into the future."
Both groups believe that with TBF's industry leading Reel Kids casting program, TBF Junior Angler Program and Student Angler Federation High School Fishing program, combined with the nationally recognized Future Fisherman Foundation programs, which have brought more than one million kids to fishing since F3 was founded in 1986, will create a solid base for building extraordinary things.
TBF has the largest, most comprehensive youth fishing program in America today that is actually putting rods and reels in the hands of our youth and getting them to the water. TBF has dynamic partners in fishing, like FLW Outdoors, which plays a significant partnership role in the TBF National Guard Junior World Championship, as well as, the TBF Student Angler Federation High School programs.
TBF President/CEO Robert Cartlidge echoed the enthusiasm. "F3 and TBF share common goals when it comes to the importance of providing fishing and educational opportunities to America's youth," he said. Both organizations know these efforts are key when it comes to facilitating the recruitment of young anglers and introducing them to the values and ethics of fishing and the outdoors. "We heard about F3's difficulties and their desire to merge their programs with those of an organization with a similar mission and values," Cartlidge said. "We knew immediately we wanted to help. We welcome the Future Fisherman's Foundation under the TBF umbrella to see youth fishing efforts continue and grow in ways that might not have been possible without this merger.
"Without a doubt, there's lots of work to do, but I have complete confidence in the staff and the industry, and their support of youth fishing to make it happen," Cartlidge continued. "Looking forward, we must work toward positioning the foundation to be self-supporting. We must also raise the bar in terms of support for programs and educators at the local school level for Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs (HOFNOD), Physh Ed and all other programs. To that end, TBF and The Future Fisherman Foundation will immediately go to work to harness their collective synergies to create new opportunities supporting nationwide youth fishing programs and developing lifetime supporters of future anglers and resources. We invite all interested parties to contact us and get involved, because this is where the work starts and the future begins."