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Florida Fishing Academy Continues its Growth

The Florida Fishing Academy, a nonprofit organization created to teach at-risk youth both life and on-the-water skills, recently received two major boosts to help out with its 2012 funding.

Celebrated marine artist and conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey pledged to commit $10,000 to be used towards the purchase of kayaks, sailboats, snorkeling gear and other necessary equipment and the Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) put in a three-year, $30,000-a-year contract.

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation’s pledge combined with the CRA’s contract will enable Capt. Richard Brochu and his team of volunteers to bring the highly-praised youth boating program to Riviera Beach, Florida, so the youth can learn to fish and boat in south Florida.

The program, which targets third through eleventh graders, will provide on-the-water instruction for boating safety, swimming, fishing, snorkeling and rowing. Classes are anticipated to start in January.

Brochu, an experienced charter captain, got involved after discovering that Florida, though considered “The Fishing Capital of the World,” offered no school-affiliated fishing clubs. He started The Florida Fishing Academy in 2006, which to date has taught nearly 4,000 at-risk kids the joy of fishing.

“This new equipment and contract from Riviera Beach will allow us to continue to grow and meet the needs of more at-risk children,” said Brochu, whose curriculum incorporates 50% evidence-based life skills along with specific hands-on sessions for on-the-water activities. “No course is less than 10 sessions long and we also incorporate an appreciation and understanding of the environment as part of the learning experience.”

Program supporter, The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, is dedicated to funding leading scientists as they develop new strategies for sensible fisheries management as well as educators, who will create novel instructional programs to stimulate future scientists and new stewards of the marine environment.

“The Florida Fishing Academy is one of the finest community outreach programs in the state and one of our Foundation’s favorite educational initiatives,” said Steve Stock, president of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. “Our hope is that many of these young men and women will become stewards of the oceans and its wildlife and carry on the valuable lessons they learned with future generations.”

Brochu said The Academy raises money to support its programs through fishing charters, evening cruises, kayak tours, snorkeling and kids camps. The Academy does own a sportfishing vessel, providing fishing charters for up to 12 passengers. For more information regarding The Florida Fishing Academy visit www.floridafishingacademy.com or call Richard Brochu at 561-740-7227.