Get Youth Members, Hook, Line, and Sinker
Looking to bring more youngsters into the “fishing fraternity,” the National Professional Anglers Association launches the Future Pro program.
The National Professional Anglers Association is offering a new tier of membership to boys and girls ages 7 to 16. Through the Future Pro program NPAA hopes to increase interest in the sport and recreation of fishing.
“Ultimately, the sport of fishing in general is under pressure because the new generations have so many other options for recreation, entertainment, and uses of their time,” said Pat Neu, executive director of NPAA. “What we’ve identified is the specific need to get kids involved at a level that’s higher than just general interest in the sport.”
An Outdoor Foundation study from 2010 shows declining participation in outdoor activities among youth, a trend Neu hopes to end through the Future Pro program.
“We felt that if [youth get involved] they can then become the opinion leaders in their sphere of influence with their friends, in the community, and so forth,” he said. “Ultimately that’s what has to happen in today’s society. If you don’t catch them early, there are so many other things pulling them in other directions that you’ll lose them.”
The program, which launched earlier this month, has already helped NPAA membership grow by 4 percent. And with their annual meeting set for early next year, Neu expects those numbers to continue to rise.
“[Our members] will all start talking about this, and that’s where this is really going to kick off,” Neu said. “We’re going to get them excited about…the future for this program and they’ll go out and start talking to all the kids that they know in their market areas and in their local communities.”
Prior to the conference, Neu says, NPAA also plans to announce the next step of the Future Pro program, which will be a membership tier for recent high school and college graduates who are short on cash but who want to develop a lifelong interest in the sport of fishing.