Blind Fishing Boat exhibited and gave three presentations at the 4-day Ottawa Outdoor and Boat Show.
Media coverage included:
-4.5 minute segment on A Channel at 7:20 a.m.
-4 minute segment on Rogers Live broadcast 4 times;
-1.5 minute segment on CBC News at 6: p.m.;
-5 minute interview on Live 88.5 morning show aired twice;
-15 minute interview on CFRA radio aired at 9: p.m.;
-1/3 page write-up in the Ottawa Sun;
-1/4 page write-up in the Wednesday edition of “24 hours”;
-Article in a weekly journal, Metro;
-Article in regional paper, Le Journal;
-Up-coming article in future issue of Walrus;
-Video interview for local college website.
-Received numerous offers from potential volunteers to assist with running “Blind Fishing Adventures”;
– Visit from Sstudents from Branford School for the Blind accompanied by their teacher and Orientation / Mobility instructor;
-Strong interest in Blind Fishing Camp being organized in partnership with the CNIB’s Lake Joseph Centre;
-Over $300 raised for the Mira Guide Dog Foundation;
-3 TV, 2 radio and 4 news paper features on the Blind Fishing Boat;
–Over 100 people attended the seminars;
-Offer from Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters to form new Chapter for youth with vision loss;
–Commitment from Friends of Sport Fishing to co-host several 1-day “Blind Fishing Adventures”;
-Commitment to speak to the Department of National Defence’s, Hunting and Fishing Club;
-Committed to speak to the Land-O-Lakes Tourism Association;
Strong support from Fishing legends such as Big Jim McLaughlin, Editor of Just Fish’n Magazine, Dave Mercer, Host of Facts of Fishing, Charles Sims, pro FLWR tour participant, Rob Atkins, owner of Fish Hawk Web Forum, and many other area semi-professional and recreational fishers;
-Distributed over 150 braille cards to children visiting my exhibit;
Throughout the four days I had the opportunity to speak with numerous individuals with vision loss, and their families and friends, and it became clear that what they want is to be able to access training materials an opportunities to learne to fish. So much of what’s out there is either in book form, or equally inaccessible pictoral format on the internet or in magazines. What’s needed are accessible detailed tactile and narative materials that describe the various different fishing techniques that can be mastered by people with vision loss.
There seems to be a general concensus that fishing is an ideal sport for those with vision los due to it’s heavy reliance on sight replacement technologies and tactics, (i.e. no fisher can really see what’s taking place beneath the surface of the water). I received strong concurance from sighted fishers that it really is a sport that those with vision loss could excell at – a conclusion which was backed-up with stories relaied to me by fishers who experienced first hand fishing with people with vision loss.
Now that people with vision loss attend the same schools as the sighted, live in the same communities, and occupy the same jobs and compete for the same promotions, what they want more than anything is to participate in integrated recreational activities. And yet, the only formally organized recreational activities are all based around “blind-specific” activities.
I feel stronger than ever that I’m on the right track of promoting the sport of fishing. My approach will continue to be two-fold; 1, to raise the awareness among the sighted about how they can create a welcoming and safe environment, and 2, to educate people with vision loss on mastering a range of specific fishing techniques. The outcome should result in more fishers with vision los fishing along side and forming strong bonds of friendship wwith fishers with sight.