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

Foster Child

The Mayfly Project Mentee

St. Paul, Minnesota Project

Lead Mentor: Evan Griggs

Co-Lead Mentor: Rhea Hawkins

Project Location: St. Paul, MN

Year Project Founded: 2020

Mentor on Team: 10-12

Number of Kids Mentored: 2021, 8

Local Foster Care Partners: Currently looking for connections.

Local Community Partners/Sponsors: Bob Mitchells Fly Shop, Aronson Family

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St. Paul, Minnesota Project

Fishing has always been a part of my life, through good times and bad times its been a constant teacher and escape. I have had many mentors throughout my life to get me to where I am today, and its my mission in life to continue to share my passion with as many people as possible- especially those who don’t have the access to the opportunities to get outdoors like I had.

Evan Griggs

Lead Mentor, St. Paul, Minnesota Project

Project Mentors

EVAN GRIGGS, LEAD MENTOR

Fridley,Minnesota

I have been fishing in Minneapolis and the Driftless area since before I could walk. When I was ten years old, I remember watching my dad fly fishing on a trout stream and suddenly realizing, “I’ve been watching you do this for years, and he’s never caught a fish!” At that point I was determined to catch a trout on a fly. I taught myself how to cast in my front yard, cut my teeth catching sunfish on city lakes, and practiced reading water on my neighborhood creek. It took three years, but I finally caught my first trout on a dry fly on the same creek where I watched my father. From that moment on, fly fishing quickly became my passion.
When I was 13, I made up my mind that my passion was someday going to be my profession. I’m so excited to be going on my 10th+ year of guiding! Right after my high school graduation, I became a trout bum and went to work on the Bighorn River in Montana at Cottonwood Campground. I worked in the fly shop, mowed the campground, and ran guide trips for two seasons. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Education from Black Hills State University. Other places I’ve guided are western North Carolina and the Black Hills of South Dakota. I’ve been guiding and instructing for Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop in St. Paul, MN since 2016. I’ve also taught thousands of people over the years a myriad of outdoor skills and environmental science lessons across the nation working for various government agencies and nonprofits. Today I’m also the environmental education specialist for Minnesota Trout Unlimited working with their Trout in the Classroom program. Sharing my passion for the outdoors with the next generation is near and dear to my heart. When I was a special education teacher, I always made a point to get my students outdoors and to show them that nature is a great place to recreate, relax, and reflect. Who doesn’t need that reminder once in a while? I’m very excited to work with TMP and continue to get youth outdoors!

RHEA HAWKINS, CO-LEAD MENTOR

St. Paul, Minnesota

The majority of my life has been defined by flukes. I transferred colleges because someone told me the other one was “in a house and the bathrooms had bathtubs.” I accepted a job I don’t remember applying for and that job took me to Montana for “ONE” winter (I ended up staying for almost 10 years). An impromptu drink with a friend led me to meeting my husband. A random chat with a friend of a friend lead to us moving across the country and buying a business that we’d never stepped foot into.

I am a graphic designer by trade, but spent 50% of my days helping people get out on the water. As the owner of a fly shop, I definitely have traded a lot of my fishing time for talking about fishing time. But seeing customers come back in after catching their first fish makes it a fair trade.

I like my asymmetry balanced, socks new and the word fruition. It’s like fruit, but not.

ROBERT HAWKINS,  MENTOR

St. Paul, Minnesota

I was lucky enough to have been born in Bozeman Montana, arguably the fly fishing capital of the world. I was also fortunate to have parents that spent their spare time on the rivers of southwest Montana. My passion for fly fishing was born from these two facts. By a young age, I had logged a considerable number of days in a drift boat and was proficient on the oars by age 15. My dad didn’t mind, more fishing for him.

After college and a few summers of being a dirtbag fisherman and snowboard shop employee, an ad in the back of the paper caught my eye. It said, “Land the dream job of a lifetime” and had a photo of a guy holding a monster rainbow trout. Make money doing what I loved? I was sold. Sweetwater Travel, in Livingston MT, had a guide school to mold young punks like me into respectable guides. I began my first job as an official fly fishing guide in Alaska that summer. I guided in Alaska for the next 7 summers. The grind was starting to wear on me and as luck would have it, a lodge back in Big Timber, Montana needed a head guide. They also were looking for an instructor for the same guide schools I had attended all those years before. For the next 6 years I guided throughout the area: the Yellowstone, Boulder, Stillwater, and Bighorn rivers and teaching guide school.

A chance opportunity led us to move to St. Paul, MN (home for my now wife) and we bought a fly shop. We’ve been running that for the last 7 years. Spending my days in the shop sharing my passion for fishing and helping people get out on the water has replaced my days sweating it out on the oars. But teaching people to fish will always have a special place in my heart.

SAM GIBAS,  MENTOR

Arden Hills, Minnesota

Minnesota born and raised, Sam grew up fishing and hunting with his Dad and Brother any chance he could get. It was this passion for the outdoors that sparked Sam’s interest in Fly Fishing a year ago. With the help of a close friend Sam slowly started to understand Fly Fishing and the true art it really is. Today Sam is a student-athlete attending Bethel University in the Twin Cities. Through his platform as an athlete Sam has been able to mentor at risk high school athletes in the inner city of Minneapolis. He hopes to serve in a similar manner through the Mayfly Project.

TIM ANDERSON,  MENTOR

Arden Hills, Minnesota

Tim grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago before moving to the Twin Cities in 2010 to attend college. He fell in love with the state of Minnesota for the endless outdoor recreation it offers and made the easy decision to stick around after graduating. He caught his first fish on a fly rod in 2015 and has been tossing flies at fish ever since. As a law student, Tim learned about the foster care system and grew in compassion for the children within it. He is looking forward to sharing his love of fly fishing and the lessons it can teach us with others!

BRYAN TUCKER,  MENTOR

Prior Lake, Minnesota

Bryan grew up exploring the lakes and fields of eastern Kansas and found his way, along with his family, to the great outdoors mecca of Minnesota in 2000. He has been an avid fisherman since as early as he can remember and has become passionate about fly-fishing over the past few years, frequenting some of the awesome trout fishing streams we have in the Driftless Area and hitting local lakes for bass and panfish. Bryan has coached youth sports for many years, taught outdoor skills classes, and has worked with kids with special needs and those living in crisis situations. He’s excited to get started with the Mayfly Project!

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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...

The Mayfly Project Mentee Curriculum Development

The Mayfly Project Mentee Curriculum Development

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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St. Paul, Minnesota Project

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