Project Healing Waters is dedicated to using fly fishing-related activities to promote the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military personnel and disabled veterans.
Officially organized at Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF), the endeavor began in 2005, serving disabled active duty service members and veterans at the Walter Reed Medical Center. Since then, Project Healing Waters has expanded across the country, establishing more than 200 volunteer-run programs at Department of Defense hospitals, Warrior Transition Units and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. Today, more than 3,000 volunteers serve more than 8,000 disabled active-duty personnel and veterans.
PHWFF volunteers provide basic instruction in all aspects of fly fishing, from fly casting to fly tying and rod building. Project Healing Waters also arranges for one-day and multi-day fishing trips, providing program participants with time on the water and exposure to the physically and emotionally restorative properties of fly fishing.
PHWFF is unique in that volunteers are engaged with program participants on an on-going, long-term basis. It’s more than a one-time fishing experience. For many participants, the socialization and camaraderie of PHWFF sessions are just as important as the outing.
The Michigan Fly Fishing Club sponsors the Ann Arbor PHWFF, which is one of the three PHWFF programs within the state of Michigan. It launched in November 2019. The other PHWFF programs are located in Battle Creek and Traverse City with tentative plans to open another Program on the eastern side of the state in the near future. In Ann Arbor more than two dozen volunteers conduct monthly meetings at the Ann Arbor VA Health Center (map) located at 2215 Fuller Road in Ann Arbor. In early 2020, a second meeting location was opened at the American Legion Post 396 (map) at 6860 Middlebelt Road, Garden City.