Testimonials and comments we receive from veterans who attend our classes or trips are very important. It proves to us that the work of our Project is vital in helping with the rehabilitation process.
Here is a selection of the testimonials and feedback we’ve heard.
It’s with a sense of pride that my memories of the trip to Lac des Neiges will follow me forever.
Meeting new veterans was a key factor, but also the joy of learning fly fishing made it extra special. The organization of the trip was flawless. Gervais and his team made it enjoyable and the food was excellent. Everybody put in an effort to help. That gave us the feeling of being together just like the years spent in the forces.
I found that I had patience again, tying the flies and learning how to make a fly, as well as exploring a new venue. It’s not by sitting on a couch watching TV that you get the motivation to want to get out there and catch fish. Lac des Neiges was the perfect opportunity to make something of it.
This is why we soldiers have a need for a hobby. Whether we have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or an OSI (Operational Stress Injury), this is a way to open ourselves to new experiences. The trip was all that and more as we made connections, friendships and learned to cast our flies.
Sometimes it is hard to figure out exactly when someone has a life-changing event. Other times the ‘where’ is also ambiguous. Then there are times when both are crystal clear like Lac des Neiges in Northern Quebec last August.
I had the privilege of joining other struggling veterans for a Project Healing Waters Canada Event. This trip was supported by Wounded Warriors Canada and the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command of the Royal Canadian Legion.
The premise is a very simple one. Put those struggling with issues in a safe environment and open the door to the magic of fly fishing and fly tying as a gateway to healing. The veterans who assembled were from all experience levels and backgrounds.
What was truly interesting to see were the interactions on the lakes and rivers spilling over into discussions on self-care and dealing with our demons.
On a personal level I can only rave about the success of the event. Even more important is the friendships that have been formed. Not only did the Nova Scotia contingent start a peer support program, ‘NS Healing on the Fly’, but we have had the chance to get together and fish. I got a chance to also meet part of the Quebec contingent and do some more fishing together.
camaraderie and fellowship
One of the interesting things about fly fishing is the connection that is formed on the river and at the tying vise. There are thousands of patterns to tie and a lifetime of learning. Most of all, the fellowship and camaraderie only expands the possibilities. Catching a fish on a fly you have tied is an experience one never forgets. A close second is watching a buddy catch a fish on a fly you tied and gave them. It also helps keep us focused during the long winter months.
When my wife asks me “Why don’t you get together with the lads and tie one on”, she knows that it will be another step on the journey to recovery for so many of us. Rather than be isolated and pursue self-destructive behaviours, we are forming friendships and pursuing a new passion and love of life.
In anyone’s books that would spell success.
“Want to tie one on?”
The trip to Lac des Neiges was my first time ever fishing. Ever since I’ve been hooked on fly fishing. It’s always great to catch fish, but the people I meet along the way are incredible. Not only like-minded but ready to lend a hand and listen anytime. I can’t wait to be in a river or on a lake with the people I have met and the ones to come.