Casting for Care is a wilderness retreat created in collaboration with the WWU Men’s Resiliency Program and WWU Fly Fishing Club that creates a space in which young men have the ability to express their thoughts openly, in an endeavor to better understand what it means to be a better man.
Casting for Care introduces tips on how to build one’s resilience and mindfulness exercises to help students recognize their reactions, both internal and external to difficult conversations.
“For some, challenging perspective and reflecting on experiences can be an entirely new experience. Combining these exercises with fly fishing helps students learn to incorporate therapeutic self-care practices into their daily lives,” said Ian Vincent, WWU Men’s Resiliency Specialist. Casting for Care was created to help foster positive mentorship and bring awareness to mental wellbeing to enhance student success at WWU. The retreat brings WWU students and staff together to engage in self-work while enjoying the great Pacific North West.
“We gained tools to unwind after a stressful day, work through a difficult breakup, piece together broken relationships, and become mentors to their peers. Tools we all have in the recesses of our mental banks that have become dull, dusty relics waiting for their craftsman to clean, sharpen, and wield. Casting for Care is simply an opportunity for such tender loving care.” said Colton Gully, WWU Fly Fishing Club president.
Saturday, May 6 was a sunny day in Bellingham.
“We woke early to meet at Western Washington University’s Outdoor Center. We met as ten young men whose perception of self was about to change in a way we could have never expected. The air was cool, the sun was warm, selves closed. We changed that last part as a group. Through our conversations, we found common ground on which we could stand together,” said Gully.
Fly rods in hand, the group walked two miles as comfortable chatter reverberated off the trees in ever strengthening waves of empathy, understanding, and connection.
“At camp, steeped in sun and campfire smoke, we shared ourselves for ourselves. On the exhale, we found ourselves more comfortable sharing with new friends than with housemates, teammates, coaches, and fathers. On the inhale, we found ourselves ready to be the change in the world we want to see,” said Gully.
This amazing event was made possible by Far Bank Enterprises, Trout Unlimited, Washington State Parks, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, Post Fly, Associated Students at Western Washington University, and Western Washington University staff. To all, we say thank you.