As part of our statement of work outlined in our cooperative agreement with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, I’m Hooked, Inc. has developed a 5-year strategic plan. This plan identifies desired program impacts, partner strategy that includes both Washington and Oregon Departments of Fish and Wildlife and their associated evaluation plans that align with the R3 (Recruitment, Reactivation, and Retention) national action plan(s).
I’m Hooked, Inc. has remained true to its mission of positive youth development, increasing their knowledge and practical skills, strengthening their social interest, and nurturing their long-term commitment to entrepreneurship and competencies for strong leadership. The organization was founded over 32 years ago by its current President & CEO, Wilbert (“Wil”) Warren. Wil’s passion for fishing and his appreciation of the great outdoors began during his childhood years of fishing with his father. We became a nonprofit corporation in 2009 and certified as a (501)(c)(3) public charity effective May 15, 2012.
Through its outdoor experiences that include mentoring opportunities, I’m Hooked, Inc. attempts to empower youth who are challenged by the complex issues arising from social disconnection, family dysfunctionality, drug and alcohol dependency, economic deprivation and mental and physical health challenges, and face barriers to full participation in outdoor activities such as fishing and archery. Our activities have continued to provide youth with opportunities to believe in themselves, and to explore nature as a source of empowerment and connectedness with themselves, their families and their communities.
We are excited about our future and invite you to join us in the DREAM!
To build upon the ambitions of all youth, to have a positive impact on their development, growth, and confidence.
Create and organize activities and instruction connecting ambitious youth to nature and to their environment, which will contribute to equipping them with the essential developmental tools for their future.
KNOWLEDGE: Agriculture, Conservation, Vocation, Wellness, Wildlife
RELATIONSHIPS: Positive Engagement with Family, Community, Cultures
VALUES: Courage, Empowerment, Generosity, Respect, Wisdom
I’m Hooked, Inc. strives to enrich the lives of youth and families, many of whom are experiencing multiple challenges, enabling them to learn valuable life skills while introducing them to the great outdoors. The natural world is an incredible wonder that inspires us all. It sustains our economy, our society, and our existence. Our forests, rivers, oceans and soils provide us with the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. I’m Hooked, Inc. programs seek to teach participants to conserve and sustain our natural resources, becoming stewards of the outdoors, enriching lives with skills that can be utilized over a lifetime, empowering youth to become powerful partners in solving problems, creating jobs, and leading change.
“People are often heard to say they are concerned about the kind of world we will leave to our grandchildren, but equally critical is the kind of grandchildren we shall leave to the earth.” John Hoyt, Philosopher
I’m Hooked, Inc. collaborates with other local organizations to identify youth and mentors throughout the community to promote continual year-long mentoring opportunities. Mentors help build self-esteem, self-respect, independence, and integrity. Self-confidence built through these experiences is one of the best defenses to unhealthy peer pressure. These experiences instill a responsibility to nature and the importance of conservation programs and the effects they have on the health of the ecosystem.
The most influential experiences of youth are often the people, places, and activities that occur outside of school. I’m Hooked, Inc. plays a key role in engaging youth in its programs that provide opportunities to explore interests, solve problems, identify with similarly engaged peers, and connect to adult role models and mentors. They acquire skills in planning, leadership, problem-solving, and time management. Even more importantly, events allow youth additional opportunities to build friendships, learn new skills, improve self-worth, confidence, and overall wellbeing.
COMMUNITY AND CONNECTION – MAKING IT HAPPEN
Stakeholders connect with the mission of I’m Hooked, Inc. and are highly motivated to support the mission in a manner that is meaningful to them. The key to effectiveness is to know and understand WHY. The goal is to attract passionate people who believe in the I’m Hooked, Inc. mission and vision, and share the DREAM (Drive, Responsibility, Education, Action, Mentoring) and wish to MAKE IT HAPPEN. Key elements that inspire the I’m Hooked, Inc. team to carry out its mission include
Why I’m Hooked, Inc. Exists
- To build upon the ambitions of all youth, to have a positive impact on their development, growth, and confidence
- To create and organize activities connecting ambitious youth to nature and to the environment, which will contribute to equipping them with the developmental tools for their future
Why I’m Hooked, Inc. Directs its Focus
- Social Disconnection
- Family Dysfunctionality
- Drug and Alcohol Dependency
- Economic Deprivation
- Mental and Physical Health Challenges
Why People Should Care
- Positive Youth Development creates a strong future and facilitates positive social change, including structures, policies and procedures that are demand-driven to address the needs of their communities, now and in the future.
- Positive Youth Development increases their knowledge and practical skills, strengthening their social interest, and nurturing a long-term commitment to entrepreneurship and creative solutions.
- Investment in youth ensures the future generation is equipped with the competencies necessary for strong leadership.
- Investment in youth enhances young people’s understanding of how to be accountable and inspiring leaders.
- Ensure youth are trained with the skills that augment their passion and interest, promoting young people as powerful partners in solving problems, creating jobs, and leading change.
The Golden Circle:
- WHAT – The services you offer
- HOW – The things that differentiate you
- WHY – The reason you are passionate and why you exist
U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE (“USFWS”) COLLABORATION
The USFWS and I’m Hooked, Inc. have found a common cause in their desire to connect youth, families, and communities to nature. Fishing has been the lure for I’m Hooked, Inc. in this endeavor while the USFWS has been connecting to the community at National Wildlife Refuges for over 50 years. I’m Hooked, Inc. and the USFWS spread the message that fishing and the outdoors are for everyone, no matter where you live or what challenges you face. I’m Hooked, Inc. has been fortunate to receive multiple Cooperative Agreement Awards from the USFWS, including a program entitled Positive Youth Engagement through the Outdoors and the newest award, Building Environmental Identity through Retention in Outdoor Activities.
OUTDOOR RECREATION ADOPTION MODEL – (“R3”)
“Participation rates in outdoor activities are changing. Demographic changes, competing hobbies and interests, and shifts in popular American culture have all contributed to the decline in participation rates of several outdoor pastimes. Champions of the outdoor recreation community are currently focusing their efforts to strategically increase participation in hunting, angling, and the shooting sports through a national movement referred to as R3,” according to the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports. In this effort, R3 represents Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation.
The R3 Model outlines the process of becoming an outdoor recreation participant. Wildlife agency resources are committed to attracting and engaging a new population of anglers, boaters, archers, and hunters so outdoor experiences remain relevant despite changing demographically, attitudinally, and technologically. The growing prominence of R3 objectives within agency priorities has culminated in the recent development of a national R3 plan, as well as numerous state plans. Reversing the trend of declining outdoor participation will require support from all R3 stakeholders, including agencies, industry, media, politicians, educators, local clubs, nonprofit organizations, and volunteers. The following objectives were identified for I’m Hooked outdoor events.
Objectives for R3 Strategies
- New & Avid Anglers: After an event, participant who had not fished previously goes fishing on their own at least two times and participants who were existing anglers increase their fishing activity by two times.
- Re-activated Anglers: After an event, participants who were existing anglers but had stopped for at least 1 year, go fishing again at least two times.
- More Outdoor Participation: After an event, participants increase their participation in other outdoor activities. These include hiking, birdwatching, archery, etc.
- Increased Family Time: At I’m Hooked, Inc. events, at least 50% of participants attend with at least one family member. After events, at least 50% of the participants indicate they increased amount of time spent with at least one family member in outdoor activities.
- Create Fishing Mentors: After events, participants who were existing anglers invite at least 2 additional individuals to the outdoors over a 3-month time period.
- Increase Angler Diversity: 50% of attendees represent under-represented demographics.
- Increase Refuge Use: Participants increase use/visitation to National Wildlife or Urban Refuges after attending events.
- Outdoor Relevance: Participants express increased community, cultural, and individual relevance of fishing and outdoor recreation after attending events.
Fully supporting R3 initiatives also requires an inquiry into reasons why individuals have reduced their participation in outdoor activities. Participant barriers initially identified include:
- Lack of Access
- Lack of fishing source/convenient access/transportation
- Lack of financial resources to cover license/equipment/fishing gear
- Lack of Awareness
- Lack of information on accessibility to fishing areas
- Lack of awareness of opportunities to fish
- Lack of communication regarding opportunity
- Lack of Skills
- Lack of basic fishing knowledge & skills
- Lack of understanding of fishing rules and license process
- Lack of understanding how to clean and prepare fish for meals
- Lack of Motivation
- Lack of prioritization over competing activities
- Lack of reminders and invitations for fishing opportunities
- Lack of social support available for participants
Having identified our target population, resources, and barriers, I’m Hooked, Inc. and its partners must evaluate progress towards achieving R3 objectives. Following are a list of outcomes I’m Hooked, Inc. will seek to measure:
- Degree to which youth and families feel safe participating in event
- Expressing a sense of accomplishment in achieving new learnings
- Participate in preparing fish for meals, understanding fish are safe to eat
- Demonstration of Increase fishing skills by number/type of fish caught
- Demonstration of Increased awareness of different types of fishing/fish
- Increased number of “WOW” experiences shared with the group
- Increased affinity for additional exploration of fishing or environment
- Increased confidence in performing an outdoor skill and describing the steps
OTHER KEY SPONSORS & COLLABORATORS
In addition to ongoing support from the USFWS, several organizations, including those below, have supported the programs of I’m Hooked, Inc. since the original Free Family Fishing event over 32 years ago.
- Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
- Portland Parks and Recreation
- Washington County Parks
- Association of NW Steelheaders (Tualatin Valley Chapter)
- US Coast Guard Auxiliary
We are very thankful for all of our partners who assist I’m Hooked, Inc. in delivering memorable and life-changing experiences.
I’m Hooked, Inc. has the opportunity to transform its programs over the coming years with a powerful curriculum component, much of it to be presented within a format of experiential learning.
“Environment-based education produces student gains in social studies, science, language arts, and math; improves standardized test scores and grade-point averages; and develops skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making.” Richard Louv, Lost Child in the Woods
Curriculum will be developed, and appropriate volunteer resources to fulfill the instruction duties will be identified. Due to their vast experience and educational resources, we will engage with our existing partners and sponsors to supply instructors and materials for many of these nature and wildlife-focused courses. Curriculum topics will be explored and developed in collaboration with supporting agencies such as USFWS and ODFW, and will include courses teaching Conservation, Wildlife, Vocational skills, and Wellness.
I’m Hooked, Inc. has been fortunate to be supported by many long-time volunteers handling key positions at events, including the following areas of responsibility:
- audio visual
- food service
- boating coordination
- life vest safety
- casting station
- rod & reel distribution
- fish processing
If you are interested in joining our events as a volunteer, please complete the form at the website.
Fully understanding WHY, I’m Hooked, Inc. and its stakeholders will move into the future with confidence; passionate and confident that its services and events make a difference in the lives of our youth and their families.
SOME PEOPLE WANT IT TO HAPPEN,
SOME WISH IT WOULD HAPPEN,
OTHERS MAKE IT HAPPEN”
To learn more about I’m Hooked, Inc., participate in its activities, or to donate, please contact us.