“I enjoyed the laughing and spunk we get to see in our mentees during circle up time, when we share about the day and they light up to shout out the answers to what we learned that day or about the fish they caught or a silly things that happened.”

Mentor

Seattle Project 2019

Seattle, Washington

Lead Mentor: Christopher Chang

Project location: Seattle, Washington

Year project founded: 2017, by Eileen Petralia

Mentors on this team: 17

Children mentored to date: 27

Children to be mentored in 2024: 10

Local foster care partners: year 1- Olivecrest, year 2- Seattle YMCA, year 3- Friends of Youth (2020)

Local companies that support this project: Avid Angler Fly Shop, Flycaster Brewing Company, The Lyman Group, Washington Fly Fishing Club, Alipine Lakes Lodge.

 

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Seattle, Washington Project

One of my favorite moments was during our final outing–my mentee received all of his own gear to keep. He was so excited and said he couldn’t wait to use his new gear to teach his cousin how to fly fish. 

Eileen Petralia

Mentor, Seattle, Washington Project

Project Mentors

CHRIS CHANG, LEAD MENTOR

Shoreline, Washington

A native Washingtonian, I have always loved being outside but it wasn’t until the last several years that I started fly fishing. It’s quickly become one of my primary passions, from exploring blue lines in the mountains with a 3wt to fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat on Puget Sound beaches, I love all types of fly fishing. I also tie my own flies. Professionally, I work as a consultant supporting foundations and non-profits to think strategically about their work and how to measure impact. I find huge comfort and joy when I’m fishing, and I look forward to sharing that with kids as a Mayfly Mentor.

EILEEN PETRALIA, MENTOR

Issaquah, Washington

​I was raised on the beaches of Florida’s east coast but wasn’t introduced to fly fishing until moving to Seattle in 2010. Fly fishing came to me during a time when I needed some peace within and has been my place of refuge ever since. When I am outside and on the water I find my calm place and am able to clear my head of all my worries. I’d love for everyone to have that ability to find comfort outdoors while being stewards of our waters and fish.

I retired from a hectic and stressful career as a Family Nurse Practitioner in 2019 and now enjoy working in my garden, raising my daughter and fishing every chance I get!

LEIGH FRANCISCO, MENTOR

Woodway, Washington

I grew up fishing the lakes of Minnesota, and when I lost my close link to water during my college and early career years as a research scientist in TX, I felt like a piece of me was missing. We moved to WA in 1994, and when my two daughters (now teenagers) were toddlers, I picked up fly fishing as a way to connect with the outdoors of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and I never looked back! Wandering the shores or paddling the waters of Washington’s rivers, lakes and inland seas with a fly rod never fails to bring a smile to my face and a sense of calm to my soul.

CORY GEOHAGAN, MENTOR

Renton, Washington

I was born and raised in Alabama, and grew up fishing small ponds and saltwater while visiting family in Florida. After college, I decided to pick up a fly rod on whim and haven’t looked back since. While living in Washington state, I fish small mountain streams, alpine lakes, large tailwaters, and cold rocky beaches for salmon and my beloved sea run cutthroat trout. I am currently a stay at home dad, and when away from my family, I spend my time chasing anything that will take a fly, exploring new fisheries, and teaching fly fishing with The Mayfly Project.

ALEXANDER GEORGE, MENTOR

Port Orchard, Washington

Born and raised in Western Washington, I didn’t begin fly fishing until I was in college, where I graduated with a biology degree from Central Washington University. The rivers I primarily fish are the Yakima where I learned the art of fly fishing, as well as the South Fork Snoqualmie, where I discovered a love of lightweight glass rods. Being on the water has taught me something every trip and introduced me to some incredible people. I hope to see everybody out there!

ZOE FERNYHOUGH, MENTOR

Issaquah, Washington

I grew up here in Washington and the beautiful mountains keep bringing me back to this amazing state. I lived in San Francisco for 3 years and that’s when I picked up a fly rod for the first time. Casting to striped bass from the shore with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance was such a dream and I’ve been hooked ever since. I have since taken up trout fishing in the rivers and high alpine lakes of central Washington and do a little bit of steelhead fishing in the winter as well. I practice dentistry in Auburn but on my days off I am likely finding water tor hiking around the cascades with my 2 dogs. Fly fishing has become an integral part of my life and I love sharing it with friends and family alike! 

WHITNY HART, MENTOR

Des Moines, Washington

Growing up in southern Utah I was an avid outdoorswoman. I had always admired fly fishing from afar but didn’t have any close by rivers to learn on. After moving to northern Utah and returning to college I decided to take a course for beginning fly fishing and fly tying. I was hooked after that and started exploring on my own. In 2019 I moved to Washington where I connected with a group of women fly anglers who have all taught me so much! The outdoors has always been the place I feel most alive, and fly fishing is one of my favorite ways to be outside and connected to nature. I’m always forced to be in the present, focus on my cast, and forget about whatever else is going on. I look forward to sharing that with the mentees.

STEVE SETTLES, MENTOR

Snoqualmie, Washington

Growing up in Eastern Washington, I had the privilege of being exposed to endless outdoor activities. Some of my fondest childhood memories were spending time in the river learning how to fly fish from my Grandfather. Fly fishing has been somewhat of an obsession ever since. I have found teaching and sharing the fly fishing experience with others to be just as rewarding as fishing for myself. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be involved with the Mayfly Project and being able to share the magic of fly fishing with new friends.

DAVID CONRAD, MENTOR

Burien, Washington

A life-long outdoor enthusiast and conservationist, David grew up in the mountains of Idaho, Montana, and Colorado snowboarding, skateboarding, and fishing. Since arriving in the Pacific Northwest in 2001, David has taken to fishing the beaches of Puget Sound and swinging flies for steelhead in the famed rivers of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho as well as advocating for wild fish and their habitat with the Wild Steelhead Coalition.

JOSH HETHCOCK, MENTOR

Orting, Washington

Im married father of three. We are a very active family with sports and almost all other out door activities. I coach different sports in our town of Orting, Wa. Fly fishing has become a huge part of my life and I belive it is much more than just a sport it is a mental health booster also. I love helping people and watching them get closer and closer to their goals.

PATRICK EGAN, MENTOR

Seattle, Washington

I grew up in Baltimore, and didn’t discover fly fishing until moving to the PNW to be in the mountains. I first picked up a fly rod on an Idaho trip in 2006, and the hook, as they say, was set. I love exploring local rivers, esp the Yakima, and road tripping to great waters in the northwest. Lately I’ve been going further afield to Cuba and Alaska to chase fish. I find that spending time on the water helps me decompress from my job as a construction superintendent. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Mayfly Project, and I very much look forward to sharing my love of the outdoor world.

CHRIS WILLIAMSON, MENTOR

Seattle, Washington

I was born and raised in western Washington. I am a proud father of two young boys, and the outdoors is where we spend most of our time. I enjoy blue lining remote streams, and high mountain lakes but I am no stranger to bigger water. From the first time I picked up a fly rod I knew that I loved it and that it would become a passion of mine. I not only enjoy the fishing aspect of the sport I also enjoy tying my own flies. l am honored to be apart of the Mayfly Project, I spent most of my youth as a foster child myself and truly believe something like fly fishing would have had a positive impact on my childhood.

JEFF NORMAN, MENTOR

Bellevue, Washington

Jeff lives in Washington State, where he learned to fish with his dad and brother. He has fished extensively in the alpine lakes of the Cascade Mountains. He also enjoys stream fishing, as well as the many miles of public saltwater beaches on the Salish Sea/Puget Sound. He is a Life Member of The Mountaineers, Fly Fishers International, a Life Member of Trout Unlimited (Three Rivers Chapter) and serves on the State Council Advocacy Team. He is the Conservation Chair for the Overlake Fly Fishing Club (OFFC). Jeff helps to teach Introduction to Fly-Fishing to youth, through OFFC and Trout Unlimited. He is also a volunteer docent at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

STACY CHICK, MENTOR

Covington, Washington

A Washington native that taught himself how to fly fish at 10 years of age after moving from the family farm in Washougal to Goldendale, Washington. He attended Western Washington University where he met his wife Trish.
They ended up in Covington, Washington and raised two boys who both enjoyed sports, music and the outdoors.
Stacy is currently employed by GCI of Alaska as a telecom engineer and has 28 years in the industry.
He has coached grade 3-9 boys basketball and football as well as some grade school co-ed teams. He mentored high school boys and girls at his local church youth group for 8 years.
He is excited to mentor foster kids in the hopes they find a life-long passion that brings them happiness.

JEN ELIUK, MENTOR

Redmond, Washington

I started mentoring with The Mayfly Project in 2019, and love seeing the kids find joy and confidence in themselves through fly fishing, as I have. When I’m fishing, I get into that “flow state” without trying. I am totally present, time flies and the rest of the world kind of melts away. I want the kids to experience this too, a healthy break from the stresses of being in the foster care system, while staying connected to themselves and nature. I have some experience providing first aid, and most recently took Stop the Bleed and refresher CPR classes. I work as a plans examiner, reviewing plans for building permits and volunteer doing state-wide code development. I’m also certified to respond and evaluate damage after an earthquake.

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