MONROE TWP. — Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited’s “Streets to Streams” program wrapped up its fourth year Wednesday on the banks of the Yellow Breeches Creek behind the Allenberry Resort Inn and Playhouse.
The program pairs at-risk teens with volunteer mentors, who spend two days teaching fly fishing and conservation values.
“This is a very specialized program,” said Thomas Hughes, a Cumberland County Juvenile Probation officer and creator of the county’s youth action team. “The idea was to interconnect county agencies as well as the community and try to fill a stop-gap for kids.”
Justin Pittman, president of Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited and a juvenile probation officer with the county, said fly fishing was his “first choice” for the program when it was created five years ago.
“We wanted to develop a fly-fishing program to introduce troubled youth to the sport of fly fishing and conservation,” he said. “And I am a passionate fly fisherman.”
So far, the program has helped 50 kids. This year, 10 boys and one girl took part in the fly-fishing lessons, Pittman said.
“We wouldn’t be able to do this without our sponsors,” he said. Besides Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited, several area organizations support the program, including Yellow Breeches Outfitters, Kiwanis Club of Carlisle, Albright Fishing Products, Diakon Family Life Services and Yellow Breeches Anglers and Conservation Association.
From stocking the river with fish to volunteering time and effort as a mentor, Hughes said the program takes a year to plan, but has lasting benefits.
“Some of the mentors in years past have continued to help the kids after the program finished,” he said.