“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.”
Lead Mentor: Eileen Petralia
Project location: Seattle, Washington
Year project founded: 2017
Mentors on this team: 15
Children mentored to date: 13
Children to be mentored in 2021: Undetermined
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.
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Seattle, Washington Project
EILEEN PETRALIA, LEAD MENTOR
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
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.
SHEILA MORRIS, MENTOR
Cle Elum, Washington
My name is Sheila Morris. I was born in Albuquerque New Mexico, raised in Washington State. I have always enjoyed the outdoors and have been fishing since I was a kid, mostly on the Puget Sound and local area lakes. I got introduced to fly fishing about 5 years ago and I’m hooked for good! I can truly say that although I love the fishing, it’s about so much more. I’m currently planning my bucket list of fishing destinations. I hope to see you on the river!
RUTH SIMMS, MENTOR
Even though I was born and raised in Seattle, I have always loved and called the PNW home. At the same time, my roots and heart lie in Monument Valley, UT where my mother is from. I am Navajo from my mother’s side and Oglala Sioux from my father’s side of the family. I have always felt the most comfortable being outside and discovering new lands, people and cultures. My father was a fishermen and taught my sisters and I how to fish as soon as we could walk. However, I discovered fly fishing while in Graduate school in the fall of 2014 and fell absolutely in love with it. Fly fishing is time I have with myself, time to think, reflect and pray. As a foster mom to my eldest nephew, I have seen first hand how fly-fishing can change a young persons life. I hope to be able to pass this type of happiness on to other children who could benefit from something stable and healthy in their lives, they way that fly fishing helps me and my nephew as well.
CARYN RODMAN, MENTOR
Cle Elum, Washington
I started fly fishing about 7 years ago and fell in love with it. I have tried to get out on the river as much as I can ever since then. I took up fly tying and have enjoyed learning the patterns and techniques of different flies used on our local rivers. I own a small construction company specializing in finish carpentry. I’ve always had an interest in how things work and enjoy learning new skills.
CORY GEOHAGAN, MENTOR
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.
JAKE WILLIAMS, MENTOR
I was born and raised in Willow, Alaska. I moved to Seattle about 2 years ago where I now have my own chiropractic practice. Before my chiropractic journey began I was a fly fishing guide in my home town of Willow, AK where my brother and I started Reel Fly Adventures back in 2009. I have a deep rooted passion for the outdoors and I absolutely love helping others have the time of their life on the water. See you out there!
CASEY WATSON, MENTOR
I am a native of Florida, but call the Seattle, WA area my home since 2017. I have been fishing since I was old enough to hold a rod. My earliest memories involve the outdoors and learning to fish on the waters of Florida with my family. My favorite memory is of my grandfather practicing his casting accuracy in the backyard, using a tea cup for a target. I have found peace and healing in the outdoors and recently in fly fishing. I am passionate about introducing others to the outdoors, breaking down barriers, and taking the intimidation of the outdoors away. I am excited to be a part of the Seattle Mayfly Project!
TODD FRIEDMAR, MENTOR
I grew up in the Midwest, but spent time in New England, Montana and also the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer. Home is Seattle, Wa where I live with my with my wife, son and Labrador retriever. I’ve been fishing all my life but primarily spend time fly fishing in fresh water and off the Puget Sound beaches for sea run cutthroat trout and salmon. I have completed the Sweetwater Guide school and enjoy mentoring with my local fly club. I am also practicing on becoming a more proficient fly tier. I spent six years teaching and leading nordic skiing for students with disabilities. I work in IT for a large outdoor retailer and have spent over 30 years in outdoor industry. I look forward to new adventures with the Mayfly Project.
CHRIS CHANG, MENTOR
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.
RANDALL WHITE, MENTOR
I’m a relocated Wisconsin Cheesehead and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I’m a retired Federal Law Enforcement Officer, with 28 years of service. I’ve been stationed all over the United States, and have chosen the PNW as our final destination. My wife and I love hosting high school exchange students. We have had students from Italy, the Netherlands, France, Thailand, and China. I’m an avid fly fisherman, and a board member and past president of the Olympic Fly Fishers of Edmonds. I also love gardening, reading, and woodworking.
DAVE MCCUTCHEN, MENTOR
Washington State native, grew up fishing stillwaters with my parents and two brothers. Started tying flies around the age of 12. Am active in two local fly fishing clubs, member of Fly Fishers International (FFI) and FFI Fly Tying Group. I have helped teachers in elementary school classrooms and coached youth baseball, softball, soccer and basketball.
I truly enjoy the exploring our great outdoor opportunities with a passion for stillwater fly fishing. Washington State has some spectacular fly fishing opportunities for everyone and that I look forward to sharing via The Mayfly Project!
JEN ELIUK, MENTOR
I’m originally from Calgary, Alberta and have lived in British Columbia, Washington and Colorado… all beautiful places that beckon you into the wilderness for fun and adventure. I love being outside, connected to nature and in a “flow state” when I’m fly fishing. It’s an honour to share this with our mentees and see them learning to cast, having fun, catching fish and gaining confidence. In my non-fishing time I enjoy knitting, camping and hiking, and work as a plans examiner reviewing building permits.
KRISTIN MACY, MENTOR
I started fly fishing back in 1995 after a friend taught me how to cast in the backyard. I took a trip to Alaska and was fortunate enough to catch my first fish after one cast! After that, I was hooked! In 2013 I took a fly tying class at a local fly shop and began tying flies on my own. I now teach fly tying and look forward to passing on that knowledge to the Mayfly Project participants.
ALEXANDER GEORGE, MENTOR
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!
News & Events
Breezy Johnston, mentor for Pikes Peak, CO project, talks about life in foster care and how fly fishing has become her home-base. We are thrilled to have Breezy joining our team and are so thankful for her willingness to share. We are inspired by folks who have been through the trenches and have found their niche in the world!
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating unprecedented challenges globally, for our country and for our TMP and foster care communities. We are a nonprofit that values action, and we have been passionately working non-stop to continue to support the most vulnerable in our...
Last year we rolled out our new curriculum with the help of our fly fishing family and TMP partners! The impact of this curriculum has surpassed our expectations--the foster children we work with are able to use the curriculum with their mentors and then keep it to...
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Seattle, Washington Project