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The Ripple Effect: Making a Difference Via A Reel Future

Posted: February 25th, 2015 by Bill Dance

In my line of work, I sometimes get a chance to make a few ripples, if not waves, for what I consider to be the betterment of others. And whenever, I get such chances, I hope these encouraging ripples can be far-reaching…hopefully, my actions will make a difference.

Such an opportunity presented itself this month when my friends, Jimmy Houston, Roland Martin, and myself had the opportunity to fish with 16 foster kids in Tampa Bay, Florida.

The trip was held for the non-profit organization, A Reel Future, which introduces kids in the foster system to the outdoors. Jimmy, Roland and I were invited down my Founder-Misty Wells.

Now, those that work with foster kids will tell you, these kids do not typically want to stand out, to be labeled as anything “different.” (And really, they’re not different.) Like all kids, they really just want to fit in…to belong, somewhere…and not be seen as different in anyway.

Well, on this trip, we interrupted the kids’ game plan in that regard. We tried to make them feel unique. It was their day…to take center stage and discover the greatest sport the world over. (Now, fishing really does have to be the greatest sport the world over; I mean it’s as they say, “Why else would the majority of it be covered with water?”)

Seriously, it really was a blessing to be able to introduce a group of great kids to a great sport, and perhaps help guide them in a positive direction.

Co-Founder of A Reel Future, Capt. Tommy LaRonge grew up in foster care since the age of 6, saying, that he hoped the kids saw him as an example of someone that succeeded through foster care.

Also, behind the scenes, I had contacted Chuck an angler from the Florida area that had made a post on my Facebook page. Chuck had also been a foster kid, and in his post, he mentioned how he had grown up watching me, and saw me as an inspiration to his success. I recalled this post when the A Real Future trip came along, and guess what? I invited Chuck to come to Clearwater and meet me and the kids. He did, and hopefully, he was able to provide even more insight to the kids we took fishing.

In closing, I also want to note: sometimes it might be easy to see the day-to-day fishing trips as routine. Perhaps, we take fishing for granted and maybe even see some fish-less days on water as trying at best; but, take this into consideration. Go back and see it through the eyes of a child. See it as you’ve never been before…or more specifically, see fishing through the eyes of a child that might not otherwise have the chance to even go fishing. I helped one of the kids “Angel” catch his first fish that day and he was grinning from ear to ear.

Yep, a whole new perspective comes aboard you head…and your heart. It made my mind start pondering, “Who really benefitted most from this trip? The kids or Jimmy, Roland and me?” Reflecting on it, now, with a big smile, I can tell you it was all of us.

Take a kid fishing when you can, you will be glad you did.

For more information on A Real Future, visit www.areelfuture.com.

Bill Dance



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