One local program came to an end tonight. Trout Scouts USA taught local youth a new set of skills meant to last a lifetime.

For nearly four months, Charles Gibson and a group of local boys learned about fly fishing.

Charles Gibson says, "It's a really fun experience and others should try it out instead of just sitting at home playing Fortnite. But, it's really fun and I think everyone should have a shot at doing something they've never done before."

Gibson's fun experience has a purpose.

Trout Scouts instructor Brandon Morrison says, "Trout Scouts is really heavily based on fly fishing, fly tying, learning [about] water, learning about the trout, learning about the bugs. But, then also some life skills kind of integrated into that: decision making, awareness about drugs and alcohol."

It's that integration of smart life choices and a pastime that has Gavin Miller hooked.

Gavin Miller says, "It's fun. It's a productive lifestyle. It gets you into your right type of mind, and it's really fun."

Getting participants in the "right type of mind" has an end goal.

Todd Mauger (Bannock County Juvenile Justice Chief Probation Officer) says, "It just supports what we're trying to do as far as create the best opportunity for success for these kids in life and in fly fishing."

For the kids, the program has one aspect they think will help their future success.

Miller says, "The community support that Trout Scouts has behind it."

That support has the participants thinking.

Gibson says, "I think fishing is something I will want to do in the future."

For program leaders, fly fishing is a passion and to see the kids biting at the opportunity to learn more makes it all worth while.

Morrison says, "I mean, that warms my heart."

Trout Scouts is a joint effort by District 6 Health Department, Bannock County Juvenile Justice Department and Snake River Fly shop to give youth productive activities as a deterrent to stay out of trouble. The success of the first round of classes has leaders hopeful for the future of the program.

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