This was the best day I’ve ever had in my life!
Bozeman, Montana Project
Lead Mentors: Paula Nielsen
Project location: Bozeman, Montana
Year project founded: 2020
Mentors on this team: 13
Children mentored to date: 0
Children to be mentored in 2021:7-8
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, LEAD MENTOR
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.
JAMIE VAN DYKE, MENTOR
Jamie is a third generation Montanan and lives in Bozeman. When she is not out enjoying time on a river, playing the mountains or traveling somewhere new you can find her selling real estate. Jamie has a passion the outdoors and is looking forward to settling into her role as lead mentor for the Bozeman Montana Mayfly Project!
MARY BLACK, MENTOR
A Memphis, Tennessee native, Mary grew up fly fishing with her father in the rivers of Arkansas, and then as a teenager started spending every summer fly fishing with her family in Montana. After dreaming of living in Montana, Mary moved to Bozeman in 2019 and now enjoys getting to fly fish and explore the outdoors with her family. She works as a Clinical Psychologist, and has an immense appreciation and passion for the mental health benefits of outdoor adventures, especially within fly fishing. Fly fishing encourages you to stay curious, challenge yourself, quiet your mind, and soak in the exhilaration of a fish on the end of your line. She can’t wait to share her passion for fly fishing within The MayFly Project!
LINDSEY KOCKA, MENTOR
Born and raised in the Midwestern “land of 10,000 lakes”, Lindsay was introduced to the world of fishing at her grandparents summertime cabin dock as a kid. While always upholding a passion for exploring the outdoors, she was introduced to fly fishing in 2015, and has since fallen in the love with the beauty and excitement of the sport, along with the breathtaking locales that fly fishing takes her. Splitting her time between the driftless region of Minnesota and the mountainous streams in Montana, she has an eagerness for showing new anglers the basics, while keeping things simple and fun. In becoming a mentor with The Mayfly Project, Lindsay hopes to be a source of support for those from all walks of life who are curious about what fly fishing is about.
KYLE WHEELER, MENTOR
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.
DAVE HERNDEN, MENTOR
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.
AMANDA JENSEN, MENTOR
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.
EMILY GRIBBLE, MENTOR
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.
JOSH BERGAN, MENTOR
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.
AMANDA PLAISTED, MENTOR
Amanda was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and is currently enjoying life in beautiful Southwest Montana. While she grew up enjoying all things outdoors, Amanda discovered fly fishing later in life and it quickly became one of her greatest passions. Amanda has immersed herself in all aspects of fly fishing and enjoys wade fishing, casting from a boat, and swinging flies for steelhead. Amanda is a first-generation college student and earned her bachelor’s degree in Social and is currently pursuing her MSW. Amanda is looking forward to pairing her passions for fly fishing and helping children to build confidence and empower them to get out on the water and enjoy the outdoors!
News & Events
We were thrilled to be on Anchored Outdoors Podcast, with the talented, April Vokey! Please check this podcast out and find out more about the founders, their vision, and how TMP is supporting foster children across the country here: Anchored Podcast Ep. 177: Jess...
"Hello Bryan and Chelsea, I just wanted to share this great picture of Alicia catching a beautiful rainbow trout (I think) while we camped along the North Fork of the Gunnison River in Paonia. She really enjoyed fly fishing while out there and you can tell by the look...
TMP Founder, Jess Westbrook, is honored to speak with Dave Steward of Wet Fly Swing Podcast recently! Jess Westbrook shares the amazing stories behind the Mayfly Project that he created to help foster kids change their lives with fly fishing. Today, we find out what...
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Bozeman, Montana Project