Meet and learn about Pike Peaks Mentor, Kaleb Lukert.
TMP: How many years have you been mentoring with The Mayfly Project?
Kaleb Lukert: I have been with TMP for two years.
TMP: What did you help with as a co-lead mentor this year?
KL: My role as co-lead mentor involves selecting fly patterns for the river, hauling gear, picking up lunch, and enjoying every second I have with the kids. I like to move around when the kids are learning to cast or playing games. This gives me an opportunity to get to know and spend time with each of our kids.
TMP: What do you think the kids got out of the program this year or what do you think was their favorite part?
KL: I feel that the kids learned patience, confidence, team work, and self-worth. I watched as every one of our kids grew in their fly fishing skills. It is always amazing to watch one of them really nail a cast or tie up a bug perfectly. You can just see their confidence building when this happens. It always puts a smile on my face.
TMP: Do any stories stick out in your mind of kiddos overcoming adversity or some way that this program helped them?
KL: We have had several kids that have had struggles they had to overcome during the different projects. One story that comes to mind is when one young man was so frustrated with getting knots in his line he was ready to quit. I sat down with him and we started untangling his leader and tippet. It took us a solid five minutes to get the knots out. During that time we talked about patience and how it affects everyday life. We also talked about the importance of self- control and how losing your temper affects those around you. I emphasized learning to control your temper and what part patience plays in having a positive attitude. It makes everything much easier. By the time we finished our talk the young man had settled down and managed to catch a fish on the very next cast. He was smiling from ear to ear . . . and so was I.
TMP: Do you think there is any long lasting impact to what TMP is providing the children you work with?
KL: I believe that every child that goes through a project takes away a skill or social tool that will have a lasting impact on their life. TMP provides a way to look at life a little differently. The experience allows us to use nature and water to help heal or mend some of the tough times that we all go through in life. I feel that every child deserves to be lifted up and celebrated. I prefer to use fly fishing as the vehicle to get us there. Something magical happens when a child gets his or her first fish on the fly. That exact experience causes many of us to get fly fishing in our blood. I see it in the face of every single child when it happens. I get goose bumps every time.