Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs Uses Angling to Keep Kids Drug Free

Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs (HOFNOD) is a national program developed by the Future Fisherman Foundation that uses one of the most popular outdoor activities, fishing,  to help youth make wise choices about their lives, while teaching them to respect and enjoy the environment. 

The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) provides free HOFNOD training for Alabama and recently conducted a training session for the Northeast Alabama Community Development Corporation (NACDC), a youth-centered non-profit in Ashland, Ala., on October 8, 2010.

NACDC volunteer Sheila Chapell attended the training and shares the program’s passion for drug prevention and fishing. Chapell, who speaks to 7th graders in Clay County, Ala., about staying drug free calls the program ideal. “The program has inspired me to use fishing as a foundation to help people not use drugs in the first place,” Chapell said. “I hope to encourage fishing as a family bonding experience that tells kids there is always hope, there is always a way to avoid drugs.”

According to Maurice Jackson, WFF Fisheries Biologist and HOFNOD training instructor, this one-day course gives future instructors like Chapell the skills needed to lead a mentor-based fishing or boating program that will make a difference in the lives of children in their communities. “Angling and other character-building activities that are built into this program give kids a hobby,” Jackson said. “Our hope is that fishing will preempt or replace drugs in their lives and let them realize their full potential.”

To become a HOFNOD instructor, you are required to attend a one-day HOFNOD instructor training course conducted periodically by WFF. For information about future, no-cost training in Alabama, contact WFF’s Aquatic Education staff in Montgomery at 334-242-3884; or HOFNOD training instructor Maurice Jackson at 205-477-6301. Training may be done on an individual or group basis.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions:  Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.  To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com .