I think fly fishing provides an opportunity to build confidence and passion in children who might not feel those things due to situations out of the their control. 


Bennett Springs, Missouri Project

Bennett Spring, Missouri Project

Project Lead Mentors: Sarah and Ben Havens

Project location: Bennett Spring, Missouri Project

Year project founded: 2020

Mentors on this team: 17

Children mentored to date: 6

Children to be mentored in 2024: 10 

Local foster care partners: Great Circle

Local companies that support this project: Currently looking for community support for this project.


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Bennett Spring, Missouri Project

Our project is going to connect some of the best people we know with children who will benefit from their time, passion and patience!

Sara and Ben Havens

Lead Mentors, Bennett Spring, Missouri Project

Project Mentors


Lebanon, Missouri

Sarah was raised in Missouri and spent time fishing and in the outdoors with her dad and three brothers. She went to the University of Missouri-Columbia for Natural Resources Management and spent her first summer planting aquatic vegetation for fish habitat. She met her husband, Ben, this summer and gained a passion for being on the water! Ben went on to become a full time trout hatchery employee for the state of Missouri, which started the passion for fly fishing! Sarah now resides at Bennett Spring State Park in Missouri. She enjoys fishing the park and anywhere else in her free time and meeting new people to introduce fly fishing to! She has a background in conservation and teaching and is looking forward to being a mentor and passing on the love for the outdoors!


Bennett Springs, Missouri

Ben was raised in central Illinois and developed a love of fishing and all things outdoors at a young age. He went to the Eastern Illinois University majoring in Environmental Biology and spent summers as a park ranger before moving to Missouri in 2001 to start a career with the Dept. of Conservation working in Trout hatcheries. He has served the public for 21 years and currently is Hatchery Manager at Bennett Spring State Fish Hatchery. He met his wife, Sarah, (Lead Mentor) his first summer in Missouri and together with their two children they share a passion for being on the water and fly fishing. He’s looking forward to sharing a love of fly fishing with others.


Lebanon, Missouri

Currently employed at Bennett Spring State Park where fly fishing is the main recreational activity. Having a background in the medical field and social services has resulted in a lot of experience in facilitating outdoor programs for special needs and behavioral problem youth. Seeing youth enjoy the outdoors is a joy and she has a strong belief that Missouri’s natural and cultural resources need to be learned and preserved. Giving support to leaders in mentoring the Bennett Spring Mayfly Project is a new and exciting project for her.


Webb City, Missouri

A native to Southwest Missouri, Nathan quickly found the thrill of chasing smallmouth bass on the fly in the Ozarks. Nathan works for a nonprofit in Joplin, MO that works with students all over the world. With an education in Political Science, he is always eager to to share the importance of conservation as well as his love for fly fishing. Nathan is excited to use his background working with students and his love for the outdoors to be a part of the Mayfly Project and settle into his role as a mentor!


St. Joseph, Missouri

Tom is 68 yrs old and retired from the U.S. Navy after twenty years of service. During that time he was an active board member and coach with the Murphy Canyon Little League. He retired from a second career with the State of Missouri after twenty four years of public service. Since the late 90’s Tom has enjoyed spending much time at Bennett Spring with his wife, daughter, granddaughter, and friends learning the art of fly fishing and fly tying. He is looking forward to many more years of pleasure sharing these activities as a mentor with the Mayfly Project.


St. Joseph, Missouri

Cathy is retired from the Missouri Family Support Division where she spent 12 years in Child Support Enforcement, and 9 years in Family Support. Prior to returning to her home state of Missouri, Cathy served 10 years as Vice President of Murphy Canyon Little League in San Diego, Ca., working with the community youth. She enjoys spending time with her granddaughter, and fly fishing and fly tying with her family and friends. She is excited to be a mentor with the Mayfly Project and share the joy of fly fishing and all it entails.


Owensville, Missouri

I have worked with kids all my life and I’m the oldest of 7 kids with the youngest being 15 years younger than me. I have been fly fishing for about 5 years now with the past 2 working at fly shops, teaching fly fishing lessons, and guiding on the Meramec river. I also work at Onondaga Cave State park giving programs to the campground about various wildlife around the park. I am very excited to worth with these kids and make a difference in the world!


Jefferson City, Missouri

I was born in a small-town east of Jefferson City, Missouri. I am retired from a factory where I built electrical transformers. In the past, my wife and I were active with coordinating youth activities at our church. I have also been active as a Cub Scout/Boy Scout leader. I am currently a member of the Capital City Fly Fishers. We volunteer at a local VA hospital and host several fly tying events each year. I love to take every opportunity to fish the Bennett Spring area. As a retiree, I am enjoying teaching my grandchildren the art of fly tying and fly fishing.


Jefferson City, Missouri

I was raised on a farm in central Missouri. As a child, we fished the local farm ponds. I am a retired State of Missouri employee. My husband and I have helped coordinate many youth trips through our church. I enjoy traveling with my husband and 5 grandchildren. We especially enjoy fishing at Bennett Spring. We have enjoyed our trips to Bennett Spring for nearly 45 years. When the weather is not favorable for fishing, I enjoy quilting and other crafting.


Kimberling City, Missouri

Jerry grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri and attended the University of Missouri-Columbia. In 2016, after 30 years in St. Louis, he and his wife, Lynne, moved to Kimberling City, Missouri. Jerry spent 12 years teaching youth fishing for the Missouri Department of Conservation, was a Boy Scout merit badge counselor for fishing/ flyfishing and is a member of Flyfishers at the Crossing. Since 2018, Jerry has been a fishing guide at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. Jerry enjoys tying his own flies and fishing his home waters of Crane Creek, Lake Taneycomo, and Roaring River. Jerry currently serves as the Program Director for H2Ozarks, a non-profit organization with a mission to protect the waters of the Upper White River Basin Watershed.

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Bennett Spring, Missouri Project

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