Reeling & Healing Midwest is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that champions fly fishing wellness retreats for women battling and surviving cancer.

What is Reeling & Healing Midwest?


Reeling & Healing Midwest is a 100% volunteer-supported 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The volunteers are cancer survivors and individuals whose lives have been touched by cancer who would like to give back and help others during their cancer journey. Many fly fish and enjoy sharing the sport with others.

Who is Reeling & Healing Midwest?


Reeling & Healing Midwest’s Mission is to provide participants with a one-of-a-kind retreat experience, on and off the river, which renews their spirit and hope through the elements of fly fishing, nature, peer coaching, positive camaraderie and support.

What is the Mission of Reeling & Healing Midwest?


What is Fly Fishing?

 Example of an Artificial Fly

Example of an Artificial Fly

Fly Fishing is a form of fishing using an artificial “fly” to catch a fish. The fly is cast using a fly rod, reel and specialized weighted line. Casting a nearly weightless “fly” requires casting techniques different from other forms of casting. The “flies” used by a fly fisherman are typically hand tied and resemble natural invertebrates or other food organisms to provoke the fish to strike.

Fly fishing can be done in fresh or salt water. North Americans usually distinguish freshwater fishing between cold-water species (trout, salmon, steelhead) and warm-water species (bass, blue gills, etc). Techniques for fly fishing differ with habitat (lakes and ponds, small streams, large rivers, bays, estuaries and open ocean).


We’ll cover the basics of fly fishing, fly casting, entomology, knot tying.

What Will I Learn About Fly Fishing?


No. Just come with a positive attitude and prepare for fun adventure.

Do I Need to Know Anything About Fly Fishing to Attend a Retreat?


If you would like to sponsor a participant please contact us via email or phone 616-855-4017. We can arrange to have a gift certificate sent to the participant.

 

I Would Like to Sponsor a Friend, Relative or Individual who is Battling or Surviving Cancer. How do I do This?


No, there is no membership fee. We are not a club.

Is There a Membership Fee to be Part of Reeling & Healing Midwest?


Most of the time carpooling is available. Typically, availability is not verified until 1-2 weeks prior to the retreat, as individuals may change travel plans or encounter health, or family issues that deter them from attending a retreat. We do our best to coordinate information between participants.

Is Carpooling Available?


Visit our Donate Now Page to learn more or donate online by utilizing our "Donate" trout button. Also, check out our Support Page for other options.

How do I Donate and Support Reeling & Healing Midwest?


 

New Participant Retreats

What is a New Participant Retreat?

 

New Participant Retreats are for women 18 years old and older who have been diagnosed with or surviving ANY type of cancer who have never participated in our retreat programs. This retreat is 2-1/2 days in length. No previous fly fishing experience is required. Reeling & Healing Midwest provides all the equipment, fly fishing instruction, river guides, lodging, and meals. Certain physical requirements are required and vary depending on retreat location. You will learn the basics of fly fishing, fly casting, entomology, and more. Approximately 12-14 participants attend as well as 12-14 volunteers.


What Activities Occur at a New Participant Retreat?

Activities at a New Participant Retreat include classroom time to learn basic fly fishing information, streamside class in entomology and fly casting, meal time together, special surprises, photo ops, bonfire (if weather permits), and more. Find a sample agenda on our Forms & Marketing Page.


What Criteria is Required to be a Participant at a New Participant Retreat?

To Attend a Reeling & Healing Midwest New Participant Retreat You Must Be:

  • A woman 18 years old and older.
  • Who has been diagnosed with or surviving ANY type of cancer.
  • Who has never participated in our retreat programs.
  • Who meets the registration and physical requirements of the retreat location.

Do I Need a Cancer Diagnosis to Attend a Retreat as a Participant?

Yes. You may be newly diagnosed or a survivor from one to +50 years of any type of cancer.


I’m a Participant for a New Participant Retreat. Am I Required to Stay Onsite?

Yes. You are required to stay onsite.


Do I Need to Know How to Swim to Attend a Retreat?

No. And let us know if you do not know how to swim or need assistance in the river. We have river guides ready to help!


I Have a Special Diet or Food Allergies or Sensitivities. Will I be Accommodated at a Retreat?

We do our best to accommodate special diets, food allergies and sensitivities at our retreats. We ask for this information in the registration packet and will review it with you prior to confirming your acceptance at a retreat. Discussing the information prior to the retreat helps us plan the best options for you and work with our kitchen staff.


May My Spouse, Caregiver, Friend, Relative, Significant Other or Pet Attend a Retreat With Me?

If you have a female relative who is a cancer survivor, she may attend a retreat with you as a participant. This is limited to a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother, great aunt, or great grandmother. Your spouse, caregiver, male relative, significant other, significant partner or pet may not attend, nor may they volunteer.

 


Is There a Limit to the Number of New Participant Retreats I May Attend?

If you are a Participant at a New Participant Retreat you may attend only ONE time. After completion of the New Participant Retreat you are eligible to attend Reunion Retreats. There is no limit to the number of Reunion Retreats you may attend. Remember space is limited and requirements and activities differ with location.

If you are a Volunteer at a New Participant Retreat, you may attend two times per calendar year. After volunteering at one New Participant Retreat you are eligible to volunteer for Reunion Retreats. There is no limit to the number of Reunion Retreats you can volunteer for per year. Remember that space is limited and requirements/duties differ with location.


Are Lodging and Meals Provided at a New Participant Retreat?

Yes. Our donations help cover the costs of lodging and meals at our New Participant Retreats.


What do I Need to Bring to A New Participant Retreat?

You can find a Suggest List of Items to Bring for your specific location on the Forms & Marketing Page.


Can I Expect to Catch Fish at My Retreat? Am I Required to Touch Them? Will the Fish be Hurt?

Our volunteer guides do their best to assist you with catching and releasing fish. You are not required to catch or touch the fish. We do our best to utilize proper catch and release techniques that do not hurt the fish.


 

VolunteEring

What Criteria is Required to be a Volunteer at a New Participant Retreat?

Our New Participant Retreats require helpers in our kitchen, classroom and river. The number of individuals required varies with location and number of participants. To be considered as a volunteer, you are required to complete and submit our Volunteer Registration Packet and complete a telephone interview with our lead volunteer coordinator.


May I Volunteer and Participate at a Retreat?

If you are a survivor and have attended a New Participant Retreat, you may volunteer and participate at any of our Reunion Retreats (limited availability). Priority is to fulfill volunteer duties first. If you are not a survivor you may only volunteer at our retreats.


 

reunion retreats

Who May Attend a Reunion Retreat?

If you have attended our New Participant Retreat you are welcome to attend any of our Reunion Retreats.  If you would like to receive notifications of upcoming Reunion Retreats, send us an email now.


Is There a Limit to the Number of Reunion Retreats I May Attend?

No, there is no limit to the number of Reunion Retreats you may attend. We have some women who come to one annual retreat and others that have attended every Reunion Retreat available that fits within their schedule.