This was the best day I’ve ever had in my life!

Foster Child

The Mayfly Project

Bozeman, Montana Project

Lead Mentors: Paula Nielsen

Project location: Bozeman, Montana

Year project founded: 2020

Mentors on this team: 13

Children mentored to date: 17

Children to be mentored in 2023: 8

Local foster care partners: CASA

Local companies that support this project: Crume Family

Apply to mentor here.

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Bozeman, Montana Project

“Having worked with foster children in the past, I know how difficult and chaotic their life is on an on-going basis. An outdoor activity like fly fishing helps them deal with their everyday challenges, calms their mind, and gives them a sense of accomplishment.  The Mayfly Project gives them the training and tools to enjoy nature and have fun throughout their lives.”

Paula Nielsen

Mentor, Bozeman, Montana Project

Project Mentors


Bozeman, Montana

Paula moved to Bozeman in 2004 to enjoy all the outdoor activities that Montana offers. She is passionate about fly fishing because it surrounds her with nature and is a wonderful form of meditation, as well as the excitement of having a fish on the line. She was a CASA in the past and feels strong that fly fishing offers children a way of coping with the challenges of everyday life. She is excited about her role as lead mentor and looks forward to touching the lives of foster children through fly fishing.


Bozeman, Montana

An Illinois native, Kyle spent 24 years exploring the world thanks to the United States Army. Following retirement in September 2019, Kyle and his wife decided to live where they vacationed the most and landed in Livingston, MT. An avid outdoors-man, Kyle is also a Fly Fishing Guide in Southwest Montana. This project allows him to continue to be a servant leader by helping children.


Bozeman, Montana

I grew up in Saginaw, MI and Santa Fe, NM. I was introduced to fly fishing at a very young age but didn’t become obsessed with it until I moved to Colorado. I’ve been seriously fly fishing for about 18 years. I like catching any fish that wiggles…but my favorite species are trout, probably because of where I catch them. I love the teaching aspect of guiding and passing on something I absolutely love to hopefully change someone’s life or just give them a bit of joy and relaxation.


Bozeman, Montana

Amanda was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and is currently enjoying life in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley in Montana. She discovered fly fishing later in life and it quickly became one of her greatest passions. Amanda earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Washington and has years of experience working with kids of all ages and backgrounds. In her current role, she works as a Behavior Consultant at a local school and enjoys engaging youth daily. Amanda has immersed herself into every aspect of fly fishing and is looking forward to combining her two greatest passions as a Mentor with the Mayfly Project.


Bozeman, Montana

Emily grew up in the Midwest fishing with her family in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the many lakes and rivers of Wisconsin and Minnesota. She learned to fly fish in Yellowstone with her father and began her fly-fishing career at Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, Montana. She is now Patagonia’s Associate Fly Fishing Rep and Steward for a Fishable Future in the Northern and Southern Rockies. Before joining the Patagonia team, Emily worked as a K-2 teacher at a Mandarin immersion school in Oakland, California. Passionate about conservation and education, Emily is excited to join The Mayfly Project and looks forward to sharing her passion for fly fishing and conservation with the next generation.


Bozeman, Montana

Josh Bergan migrated to Montana from Minnesota in 2004, seeking adventure. He is a licensed foster parent in southwest Montana and serves on the board of Suffer Out Loud, a small non-profit that works to reduce the stigma around mental health issues and suicide. He works as a freelance writer, photographer, and publisher specializing in fly-fishing. Bergan is a lifelong angler with a particular affinity for aquatic insects, and believes in the healing power of fishing, therapy, listening, showing up, and high fives.


Livingston, Montana

Buddy got a late start to fishing when he moved to Missoula, Montana in 2005. Now, a fly-fishing guide in Livingston, Montana, Buddy spends his summer days with folks who share a passion for the outdoors, helping to foster a curiosity for what keeps these places special. With a background working with kids in a wilderness therapy setting, Buddy is looking forward to working with the Mayfly project to help make outdoor places and experiences more accessible to some of the youth in the area.


Helena, Montana

Spending time in the outdoors has always been a priority for Lesa. Born on the Blackfeet Reservation in Northern Montana, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Tribe and a descendent of the Blackfeet Nation, fishing, hiking, and driving dirt roads are her passion. Lesa currently works as a tribal liaison for the State of Montana. In her spare time, she is often tying flies, hiking a trail or fishing from her float tube in one of the local lakes. Montana and Alaska have provided her a myriad of experiences and she is excited to join the Mayfly Project as a mentor and help to teach foster kids how to be outdoors and have the best experiences ever.


Bozeman, Montana

A New York native, Sam grew up in a fishing town on Long Island, where he spent summers deep-sea fishing for species such as Cod, Tuna, Stripe Bass, and Flounder. He caught his first trout on a fly in 2020 during a backpacking trip in northern Montana and hasn’t looked back since. He spends as much time on the water as he can outside of his day job working in metal recycling. He is passionate about conservation, philanthropy, sustainability, and spending time outdoors with family and friends.

News & Events

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Bozeman, Montana Project

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