“We believe that water heals, and that getting kids outside, learning skills, and finding joy can be transformative in many ways. We also believe that children are resilient, brave, and beautiful from the inside out. By connecting kids with mentors, fresh air, camaraderie, and the challenges (and thrills!) of fishing, there is hope. We are thankful for the amazing work that The Mayfly Project does for foster children and proud to announce our commitment to support their efforts across the country,” April Archer, SaraBella Fishing.
When The Mayfly Project national program first developed, Founder, Jess Westbrook, and Co-Founder, Kaitlin Barnhart spent hours on the phone, talking about the value in the gift of a fly rod and that by introducing youth to rivers we are leading them to a positive place in this difficult world. So when the TMP team first met April Archer, CEO of SarahBella Fishing, the conversations about using fly rods to help improve lives and to give greater purpose, were right in line with their developments with TMP.
“We appreciate SaraBella Fishing’s unique business goals where they create “smart beautiful” fly rods that perform with excellence and are made with purpose, while also supporting nonprofits that are improving lives through fly fishing,” Kaitlin said. Each SaraBella rod is hand crafted in Colorado, by survivors who have endured some of life’s most wild challenges. They value grit, passion, the environment, and the power of positivity. They care about the watersheds of our planet and the humans that depend on them. They strive to make excellent products that make profound impact.
It’s no wonder when April Archer, CEO of SaraBella Fishing April Archer, learned of the important work of The Mayfly Project, she knew that TMP would be a non-profit her company would support in several ways. April said,
I recognize that foster care serves children in a time of transition. I know that all transitions, be it seasonal, developmental, or circumstantial, can be incredibly challenging. One of my dearest friends is a foster Mom. I have witnessed the joys, the challenges, the heartache, and the beauty of their foster care experience. I have seen the positive effects of fresh air, hikes, and outdoor adventure on this population specifically. I believe wilderness not only provides adventure, it also calms, inspires, and brings hope to foster children. We are thrilled to support such important work.”
This unique collaboration began over five years ago, as both SaraBella Fishing and The Mayfly Project were emerging linearly, and now have partnered together to make an even bigger impact on their communities. Here is a Q&A with SaraBella Fishing CEO, April Archer, and TMP Co-Founder, Kaitlin Barnhart, to explain the uprising of this new partnership and the plans they have for it.
Q and A Parallel:
How did SaraBella and TMP cross paths? Tell us why you’re excited about this SaraBella and TMP Partnership?
I met Kaitlin via social media several years ago. Our first phone conversation was genuine, action-oriented, and full of great camaraderie. Kaitlin has written a couple blogs for SaraBella Fishing, and we have supported each other through life’s ups and downs -- both personal and professional. We cheer for each other’s success, and we pray for each other’s children. We also love to fish -- in wild and chaotic ways -- with our friends, families, and communities. I admire Kaitlin’s ability to write, to share stories and experiences, so that more human may experience fly fishing in fun and refreshing ways. She is an incredible woman, mom, leader, and activist. She makes big impact every day. Over the years, we’ve witnessed the evolution of SaraBella Fishing and The Mayfly Project. I love what this organize does and the people who make it happen. It’s a natural fit for SaraBella to collaborate with The Mayfly Project, and we look forward to continued impact (and adventures!) ahead.
I met April through Facebook around 5 years ago, I believe after she read one of my strange blog posts about mixing motherhood with fly fishing. Once I read up on SaraBella Fishing I was enthralled with their mission and felt it was so needed in the fly fishing industry, but I had no idea I would end up talking to someone who mirrored my passion completely. Our first phone call was well over an hour long--I remember soaking up every word she was saying, thankful to have met another woman in the fly fishing world who truly understands the therapeutic value in fly fishing and who genuinely cares about taking care of people through river adventures. Since then, I’ve appreciated April’s friendship greatly and I’m always inspired by April and how hard she works to build her company with human-focused goals, her influence on women joining the sport of fly fishing, while she also juggles motherhood and her own fly fishing addiction.
I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with April and receive support from SaraBella Fishing because their mission aligns perfectly with TMP-- we both strive to improve the lives of people and believe that we can lead people to the rivers through the gift of a fly rod, and there is healing that takes place in the process. Just listening to April talk about how passionate she is about supporting non-profit work and giving back to local communities, is inspiring to us. We are excited to see what we can do together.
Tell us some important facts in your industry about the value of the gift of a fly rod.
The gift of a fly rod is a gift of adventure and love. Giving a SaraBella fly rod is truly special. It will be made in Colorado, by the hands of Survivors, with carefully crafted excellence.SaraBella Fishing is the only woman-owned fly rod company that focuses its outreach, education, and product development on serving the female anglers. We sell to and support ALL anglers, and we love bringing more women/girls into the sport.
Jess Westbrook and I not only deeply understand the importance of giving the gift of a fly rod to foster children, but we have been able to experience, several times in the last three years, the thrill, their boost in self-confidence, the new ways the youth we work with are starting to see themselves and how they view the environment--all from an experience with a fly rod. In 2018, and because of essential partnerships in the fly fishing industry, community and beyond, we have mentored and gifted over 100 fly rods to youth in foster care.
What many people don’t understand is that foster youth rarely get an opportunity to spend time in the great outdoors, unless they are placed with foster families that value these experiences. We have to work hard to get approval to take these youth out to the rivers, but when we see them catch their first fish, or not worry about where they are going next for a bit, we know the gift of a fly rod is so essential for foster youth specifically.
We are thankful to partner with so many companies that understand the gift we are providing and who want to join us in not only leading more youth to the sport, but creating future conservationists who value outdoor environments.
What do you hope to impact from this collaboration? In what ways does SaraBella or The Mayfly Project fill a gap in their industry?
We recognize the importance of inclusivity and bringing youth into the sport of fly fishing. We believe in making excellent products that ALSO make a positive impact. We hope that more foster children will gain access to fly fishing as a tool for healthy, positive living.
According to Outdoor Industry current stats on angling, “More than 80% of millennials live in cities and are more disconnected to than ever before. However, Millennials who have found a connection to public lands express a strong desire to continue their connection and advocacy, something that will be critically needed if we are to protect and enhance these places for future generations.”
We know that if youth have positive experiences in the outdoors, it opens up a new world for them--to a place where they can not only find healing in their own lives, but find a connection that they will want to care for in their futures as well. The Mayfly Project is unique because we are introducing a population to the outdoors that would most likely never get this opportunity otherwise. We are using the rivers to help youth, while also teaching them how to help the rivers.
SaraBella is so unique in that they create custom fly rods that have a human-focused footprint on them. They employ veterans to build rods, they give back to those who need healing, such as women battling breast cancer or foster children dealing with PTSD. SB’s business goals have always pivoted around helping their communities, and we are thrilled to have been chosen as one of the non-profits they want to support!
Plan for Partnership and Announcement:
SaraBella is providing consumers have the option to purchase a rod or a gift certificate for a loved one and choose TMP to receive $75 with every rod sold. The give-back code is: SB-TMP75. SaraBella is also committed to working with TMP to help provide education, support, and provide more opportunities for youth in foster care to experience the great outdoors.
Please help us thank SaraBella Fishing for their support and for helping The Mayfly Project hold space for youth in foster care in 2019 and beyond!