ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) President and CEO Frank Peterson and BSA’s Fishing Committee Chairman Ben Jelsema signed a partnership agreement at the recent ICAST trade show to support Boy Scout fishing through its BSA Certified Angling Instructor program. The BSA Certified Angling Instructor program transforms BSA fishing advocates into more effective trained instructors across the country, teaching scouts of all ages the basics of fishing.
The key objectives to introduce scouts to the joys of fishing are to help them catch their first fish, provide opportunities for ongoing fishing experiences and encourage a progressive interest in fishing while increasing their skill levels. RBFF will provide resources including educational and instructional content from its Passport to Fishing and Boating Program and TakeMeFishing.org. In addition, RBFF will leverage materials from its industry network to the Boy Scouts of America to aid in teaching youth the enjoyment of getting outdoors, enjoying boating and fishing activities and protecting our precious outdoor environment and waterways.
“Our goal is to double the number of Certified Angling Instructors with BSA, increasing the opportunities for scouts ages 6-12 to get involved in fishing,” said Peterson. “This partnership aligns nicely with our mission to get more people out on the water fishing and boating, in turn generating critical funds for state aquatic conservation activities.”
For over 100 years, fishing has been an important activity for Boy Scouts. The Fishing merit badge was one of the original merit badges and in 2015 the 2,000,000th youth earned the Fishing merit badge.
A newly introduced recognition for scouts is to become a “Complete Angler.” It is earned by completing the Fishing, Fly fishing and Fish and Wildlife merit badges. It begins with their first catch.
Surveys indicate that 83 percent of scouts like to fish and it is the 4th most popular outdoor activity (surpassed only by camping, swimming and bicycling). Surveys further revealed scouts are spending 23.3 million hours fishing every year and spend approximately $70 million dollars on fishing equipment.