We have found that fishing seems to be a good activity that it is easy to social distance. For us on the BSA Fishing Committee, we have been capitalizing on this aspect of our favorite pastime by getting out and creating activities that you can still do while social distancing.
Our first initiative was to help Fishing Merit Counselors have access to a slide deck to teach it online. There has been wide acceptance and use of this course.
We then completed our own educational course, Certified Angling Instructor (CAI) Course to be presented online. The practical part of that course is being published so the course can be completed through distance learning. We have had such success with these online CAI courses. We used to think an in person class of 25 was a big class. The online classes are broken down into five 1 to 2 hour sessions. The average attendance is over 50 participants for the three classes we have already run.
Then, Fred Morrison, created a unit level 3 or 4 hour course. This course is to quickly get Cub Scout leaders to feel at ease taking their Pack or Den out to catch bluegill and pan fish. We have nick named this course “Worm Drowning 101”.
We saw a need for an introduction course to get people to consider taking our CAI course. We have an Angling Educator Course for teaching non Scouting fishing groups about how Scouting operates so they can assist with Scouting events. We now have a course for teaching Scouters about how to get your Troop or Pack to go fishing. It is called the Angling Educator for Scouters. This is an online course that takes about 8 hours total.
We can use these courses where we feel it is appropriate. The Cub Scout fishing class maybe be perfect for University of Scouting presentation. The Trout Unlimited Chapter may best be served by the Angling Educator Course for non Scouters.
Our next pond to fish is to develop Advanced Skills courses. The next courses are going to be fly fishing and rod building. This will keep the CAI’s looking to the future.
The concept of having courses that can be scaled to the audience gives us very flexible options during this time of social distancing is critical.