The following is a short article on the Acadian Fly Rodders 1st Retreat for Reel Recovery. They have now held several of these events:

Reel Recovery was founded in 2003 by a group of avid fly-fishers inspired by their fishing buddy’s ongoing battle with brain cancer.  Witnessing first hand the beneficial impact fly-fishing provided their friend, they created Reel Recovery to provide the same opportunity for other men battling the disease.  Combining expert fly-fishing instruction with directed “courageous conversations”, the organization provides men with all forms of cancer a unique opportunity to share their stories, learn a new skill, form lasting friendships and gain renewed hope as they confront the challenges of cancer.

In April, 2010, the team that founded Reel Recovery in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area fly-fishing clubs, made a presentation to the Acadiana Fly Rodders Club in Lafayette.  They told a moving story, made especially poignant by the presenter’s personal experience with brain cancer.  Warren Wolf told the club of his tough journey against his disease, and the source of strength he had gained from his friends at his own first Reel Recovery retreat.  Since then, Warren had joined with the organization to support many retreats in several states, inspiring clubs and individuals to start their own local chapter and hold retreats for their communities.

A few of the Acadiana Fly Rodders took the idea and raised the money to provide the retreat free of charge for twelve participants from various parts of Louisiana in October 2011.  We recruited volunteers from several sister clubs including Baton Rouge and Lake Charles to join men from our club to act as coaches and “buddies” during the three day retreat held at White Lake Lodge near Gueydan, LA.  

Stan Golub from the national office of Reel Recovery provided essential support during the fundraising and retreat organizing stages.  Rees and Ted, volunteers from Reel Recovery, came to train our staff during the retreat.  Our volunteers distributed flyers and made presentations to local cancer treatment centers, service clubs, oncology offices, churches and foundations to raise the money and invite participants for the retreat.  The state of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries donated their facility for lodging of participants and Mr. Billy Rucks donated room in his camp to house the volunteers.  The money we raised was used to bring in the facilitator who directed the men’s “courageous conversations” and buy the food.  The staff at the lodge and several volunteers provided kitchen skills and we all donated our time and transportation to make the retreat very affordable.

We encourage other groups to find out more about this worthwhile idea by contacting the national office and serving as volunteers or sending eligible participants to our next retreat this coming October.  It is easy to hold a retreat in your own area and the response from families, doctors, volunteers and participants is overwhelmingly positive.  We will be glad to help you.  Check out the information at:
The North Louisiana Fly Fishers also have a very successful Reel Recovery Program.