Moscow Lodge #249 is Featured in
May’s Elks Magazine
Moscow Lodge #249’s veteran’s fly-fishing program is currently featured in the May issue of The Elks Magazine nationally. Thanks once more to all our members and non-member volunteers who have made this program possible for our vets.
Elks National Foundation Impact Grants are competitively awarded.
The Moscow, Idaho, Lodge Uses
an ENF Impact Grant to Help
Veterans with PTSD
Pictured taking part in the Moscow, Idaho, Lodge’s fly-fishing program for veterans experiencing PTSD are (from left) US Army veteran Tony McDonald and US Navy veteran Megan Riley.
THERE ARE MANY BENEFITS TO FLY-FISHING, one of which is that it can be a day spent on the water, away from the world. Of course, it’s a time to strategize about your fishing and reel in a catch, but it can also be a time to clear your mind. It can be a time to let go of stress, and for local veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, it can be an opportunity to forget about the memories of war for a little while.
Members of the Moscow, Idaho, Lodge have been using their ENF Impact Grant to help returning veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have PTSD and are students at the University of Idaho and Washington State University do just that. As part of this program, twelve lodge members provide fly-fishing lessons to the sixteen veterans who participate in the program and who were recommended to the program by liaisons that exist between their universities and the lodge.
The program consists of four weekly lessons that include sessions covering casting techniques, insect morphology, and stream reading.
The lodge-member instructors hold casting practice at the Moscow Elks Golf Course and organize outings to local fishing spots. The lodge provides the participating veterans with high-quality rods, reels, and lines. “We are most proud that we can give back to the men and women who have served our country and give them a lifelong hobby,” says Project Manager George Paris.
Fly-fishing is very different from traditional fishing. The bait is light and therefore must be cast using a different method from traditional fishing. It requires a great deal of thought and technique and offers practitioners different physical and mental benefits from those offered by regular fishing. In 2009, researchers working at the University of Southern Maine and at the University of Utah and the VA in Salt Lake City found that combat veterans who participated in flyfishing experienced significant reductions in stress and PTSD symptoms. The study also concluded that these veterans also experienced
improvements in their sleep quality after participating in just one flyfishing
According to bimonthly progress reports, the project has been successful across the board for the veterans who have participated. After the project is complete, the lodge plans to gather feedback from participants and volunteers to continue improving the experience. “The lodge and the community have been very proud of our project
and have been behind it 100 percent,” Paris says. Lodge members hope to expand the program from sixteen to twenty-four veterans in the future so that they can serve more veterans in their community.
The Elks National Foundation helps lodges serve their communities in significant and ongoing ways by awarding Impact Grants of up to $10,000. To find out more about these grants and the Community Investments Program, please visit www.enf.elks.org/ImpactGrants.