Whether Stacy Jennings is teaching, rowing, giving a wardrobe consultation (www.doncaster.com), or providing strategies for emotional and physical safety to a family, she’s passionate about her jobs. Her fly fishing school is 16 years old this year (http://www.kingfisherflyshop.com/FlyFishing-School) and Stacy guides on Montana’s most coveted water. On behalf of the Kingfisher fly shop, she teaches two accredited fly-fishing courses to 80 students a year at the University of Montana. Fundamentals of Fly Fishing for Women and a co-ed course are offered each spring and fall.
Whether it’s a quick lesson in casting mechanics with Chief Justice John Roberts or a three-hour fishing school with fourth graders, the job is the same: share my love of the sport and equip the learner with specific ways in which to enjoy it forever.
I get just as excited in my 35th year of fly fishing as I did the first time I began helping anglers learn to assess their own casts. Teaching a couple of checkpoints to get effortless distance and accuracy new anglers could never have imagined they’d be capable of never gets old for me. The process especially makes me smile when I open emails that say somebody had an amazing day on the water with a spouse or a life-changing solo trip to the backcountry with record number of fish caught, knots detangled and critters spotted.
I row families, couples and single folks down some of the most fish intensive and splendor filled rivers in the country. We become one with the river’s currents, hunt fish, eat well, have great conversation and surrender all cares of the world to the beauty that surrounds us. It’s particularly renewing to be with people in this context since my other job exists on the other end of the spectrum teaching kids and their families (as a family therapist for www.wmmhc.org) to better cope with the some of the most serious cares of the world.
While they may not seem it, all of my jobs are congruent. It’s fulfilling for me to experience people at their best and as with my other two passions, working with women who lack the time or desire to shop but who want to look and feel their best in their clothes, 80-year-old, family-owned Doncaster is a dream job. I enjoy showing clothes four times a year with my mother, who has been with Doncaster 36 years. Together we help women of all ages, in the comfort of our home, find clothes that fit their bodies, lifestyles and budgets forever.
I enjoy the blend of challenge and variety in my work and am drawn to detail whether it resides in rugged wilderness, human relationships, exquisite fabrics and design or music. I treasure the diversities of life that range from high country mule deer and spring creek trout to Miles Davis and Mussorgsky.
The river revives my spirit. Its scent resets my brain to an eager childlike state. Having grown up in the mountains of Colorado at 8500ft, something magical happens when I inhale mountain air. I feel my heart race, even after working a month straight, when I first see water, boat in tow. I love being on the water! Both the beginning and final pulls on the oars are a powerful blend of peace and exhilaration for me.
Combine all that with sightings of osprey diving for trout, golden and bald eagles soaring over head, a cow and calf moose rearranging willows on the bank and coyotes pups frolicking in tall, green grass at the base of a breathtaking canyon and you have a glimpse of a day on the job and some of what I like to do outdoors.
Yes, I’m pretty attached to water, its noise, rhythm, scent … all of it. I live in Missoula, Montana, about 10 blocks from downtown and the Clark Fork River. In a quest to bring water even closer to my daily life, I dug a 3,000-gallon pond, which, of course, has a waterfall and two creeks running year round. Inner peace, therapy. My other outdoor loves include skiing, hiking, hunting and gardening around my pond. Not much grass in my backyard, just raised beds and water.
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