CAMANCHE — Fishing is one of the United States’ most popular outdoor recreational activities and according the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, in 2011 more than 33 million people participated in the sport.
It is also one of the most casual and cost effective activities nationwide but participating in angling pleasure isn’t always as simple as baiting a hook and casting a line.
For nearly 60 million Americans who suffer from disabilities — physical, cognitive, mental, emotional and everything in between — fishing is a difficult task that many may never get to experience. Because of that, Fishing Has No Boundaries, a non-profit organization from Hayward, Wisconsin, created a program that aims to teach everyone, despite their physical or mental restrictions, the joys of fishing.
Now, that idea and a chapter of the organization has set up shop in eastern Iowa and they are ready to kick-off their first-ever Fishing Has No Boundaries event.
“I saw through personal experience how difficult it is for people with disabilities to get involved and do different things and I’m trying to change or get involved with that to give them a chance to do something they may have never done before,” Fishing Has No Boundaries Eastern Iowa Chapter chairwoman Allie McGraw said. “We’re trying to get them out there to build some friendships that they might not have an opportunity to build on their own.”
McGraw started the first and currently only Iowa chapter of the Fishing Has No Boundaries organization in March 2013, after watching a family member struggle with losing the ability to enjoy fishing the way she used to.
After doing some research, McGraw discovered the organization and began looking in to ways to get involved.
Just a short time later, she along with four other board members created the first Iowa chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries and now the rest is history.