WON Landing Page OCT 2022

National Park Foundation: Gone Fishing

The following blog is an excerpt from, “Gone Fishing” by the National Park Foundation.

The Rawlinsons have moved seven times in the last 10 years. They’ve lived on both coasts and have been as close as 350 miles and as far as 2,500 miles away from their original home in Cleveland, Ohio.

And they aren’t the only ones. Approximately 600,000 families move in response to military orders each year. It’s par for the course as a military family, says Nicole Rawlinson, manager of Welcome Programs at Blue Star Families and spouse of an active-duty Navy officer.

Rawlinson family is all smiles at a park
Rawlinson family is all smiles at a park

For Rawlinson’s family and many other military families, one of the few constants is a connection to the outdoors. While they trade cacti for pine trees and mountains for beaches across moves, wherever they go, they can always find a park. 

We have really held on to this idea of being connected to the parks and being connected to nature and the outdoors to create cohesion within our own family unit, but then also to find ways to connect to our new communities,” Rawlinson says.

Seeing the impact that nature was having in her own family’s life, Rawlinson began managing the outdoors program at Blue Star Families. In this role, she organized a partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) to develop and deliver a recreational fishing program for military families across the country.

Rawlinson family enjoying a trip to a park
Rawlinson family enjoying a trip to a park

Children in military families are introduced to fishing through programs made possible by the National Park Foundation’s (NPF) Junior Ranger Angler program. NPF’s programs reach Blue Star Families in select chapters, including Jacksonville, Florida.

The concept is simple, but hugely impactful — make family friendly fishing clinics affordable and accessible, giving military families an outlet for outdoor recreation while building community in a new place. Blue Star Families provides all fishing gear and required licenses, as well as additional explorer packs curated to enhance families’ outdoor experiences.

Continue reading, “Gone Fishing” from our friends at the National Park Foundation here.

  • About The WON

    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.


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