“Our kids were always asking ‘When is the next outing?’”
Austin, Texas Project
Project Lead Mentor: Tom Hunt
Project location: Austin, Texas
Year project founded: 2019
Mentors on this team: 12
Children mentored to date: 11 full project mentees, introduced fly fishing to 23 children in foster care at a one day event.
Children to be mentored in 2023: 6
Local foster care partners: The Burke Center for Youth, Texas Baptist Children’s Home, Foster Village, and Austin Angels
Local companies that support this project: Living Waters Fly Shop, Texas Women Fly Fishers, and San Gabriel Fly Fishers
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Austin, Texas Project
VINCENT LECCA, MENTOR
Vincent was born in the Bronx, NY, I traveled to Texas in 1979, attending AHS High-school, completing College at University of Texas at Arlington in 1991.
Vincent is a Volunteer for Texas Parks & Wildlife (Area Chief), Angler Education Instructor Program for Kids of all ages, and disabilities for past 9 years. Vincent also volunteers his time with, Austin Angles Foster Home as a Fishing instructor, and Buda Tx YMCA Youth Outreach Programs with Fishing Education in mind. Vincent has also been a fly fishing guide and educational instructor for past three years with the Trout Unlimited Annual Youth Camp on the Guadalupe River.
Vincent has been fly fishing for past 10 years and is excited to pass on his passion of fly fishing with Mayfly Project in the Austin, Tx. area.
BRITT DONALDSON, MENTOR
Britt Donaldson grew up in New Mexico and started fly fishing around 1980. Most of Britt’s fly fishing experiences have taken place on the San Juan river in northern New Mexico. Britt worked with Big Brothers/Big Sisters in New Mexico while he was employed in the banking industry. Through that experience, he developed a desire to work with disadvantaged children. Britt looks forward to sharing his fly fishing skills with young people participating in the Mayfly Project.
JUD CHERRY, MENTOR
Born and raised in the Adirondack Mountains, Jud tied his first buck tail fly at the age of seven, and grew up fishing the remote trout streams and lakes every year as soon as the ice broke. After attending college in upstate New York and the university of West Florida, Jud relocated to Austin, Texas where his focus switched from cold water to warm water fishing, and passed his love of fly fishing on to his daughter.
Jud joined the Mayfly Project in 2019 and is eager to share his love of fly fishing with the young future of this sport.
JEFF HEDGES, MENTOR
A Texas native, Jeff started fly fishing over 25 years ago after buying his first fly rod at a flea market. Jeff, his wife Karen and their 3 sons have lived all over the US. Jeff is a Chemical Engineer by training and spent the first 11 years of his professional career on active duty in the US Navy in the submarine force and another 12 years in the naval reserve retiring as a US Navy Captain. He and his wife were foster parents in Tennessee and Ohio and Karen was director of a foster care program in Pennsylvania. After retiring in 2017, Jeff consulted for two years and began volunteering. He is a volunteer for Reel Recovery that offers fly fishing retreats to men with cancer. He is excited to be involved with Mayfly Project in Austin, TX.
RYAN LUNDEBY, MENTOR
I grew up in Northern California where I had the amazing experience of hiking and camping throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains with my family. I had the privilege of serving in the military. When I finished serving, I went back to college and got a BS in psychology. I’ve always enjoyed helping others more than myself; it is what I’m most passionate about. I have a niece and a nephew I get to spoil, as well as three mastiffs I recused and rehabbed into socially healthy pups. I feel so lucky with my childhood and want to help these kids have a better one.
BRIAN HART, MENTOR
Originally from Spokane, WA and born into a long line of fishermen, Brian had a rod in his hand as soon as he could walk. It wasn’t until college though that he discovered fly fishing after a trip to Wyoming to visit a friend. After a day of catching dozens of eager brookies in the Bighorn Mountains, he was hooked for life. Relocating to Austin to be closer to his wife’s family, Brian has enjoyed the new challenge of catching bass on the fly. His love of fly fishing has instilled an equally fervent passion to protect these beautiful fish and to educate the rising generation in ways they can contribute to conservation.
MELISSA WOLTER, MENTOR
A Texas native, Melissa grew up living between Austin and the Gulf Coast. She also lived in Oklahoma and northern Arizona before making her way back home. Melissa became a mother through adoption and now has 2 wonderful children. She works as an educator, a biologist, and a researcher specializing in inland fishes and mussels of Texas. She began fly fishing in 2019 and considers herself a lifelong learner. Melissa is looking forward to mentoring with the Austin Mayfly project and making a positive impact on the lives of people who’ve grown up with similar experiences as she has. She values the positive influence of the outdoors, especially within aquatic ecosystems, and can’t wait to share with others how special Central Texas is.
RILEY HAHN, MENTOR
Born and raised in Austin, Texas. I was first introduced to fly fishing by my grandfather while visiting our family cabin in the mountains of Wyoming each summer. I quickly became hooked; it has been my passion and #1 pastime ever since. I can’t wait to share the love of fishing and nature with others and hopefully inspire the next generation of anglers.
TOM HUNT, MENTOR
Round Rock, Texas
Tom was born and raised in Waco, TX. His aunt introduced him to fly fishing when he was 12 while she was visiting from Colorado. Tom lives in Round Rock, TX with his wife, Jess, four kids (ages 2, 5, 8, and 9) one yorkiepoo, and cat.
Tom currently works a biodefense consultant for the DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office. In their free time, the Hunt family enjoys fly fishing (duh), biking, sports, hiking, and traveling. Tom’s loves sharing fly fishing and tying with anyone interested and has led the Austin project since 2019.
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Austin, Texas Project
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