Horizons' clients hit the old fishing hole


He doesn't look like Babe Winkleman or one of the Linder brothers, but Tyler Swaney isn't afraid to reel a fish in like a pro. The reason is because the incoming senior at Moffat County High School is the No. 10-ranked Bassmaster in the Wyoming Federation.

On Tuesday, Swaney took time from his summer vacation, and precious fishing time, to provide angling instruction to around 20 members of Horizons Specialized Services at the Loudy-Simpson ponds.

"I came here to represent the Yampa Valley Bassmasters Club, just trying to show these guys some of the basics of fishing," Swaney said.

Swaney gave an exhibition to the Horizon clients on how to tie on and bait their hooks, how to use some lures and basically how to catch trout. Though, with the barometer going wild and a storm moving through the valley, most of Swaney's pupils were skunked fish wise.

The lack of fish caught, or even bites felt led Horizon clients Wayne Brannon say that Loudy-Simpson was fish free.

"I don't think there's anything in here," he said, with a motionless bobber at the end of his line.

Horizon's is an organization which helps the mentally disabled live independently if possible, and main streams them into the community.

Each month the organization has a new theme which its members will learn about and explore. This month's theme was water, hence a fishing trip and instruction from a professional.

"We went to the Holiday Inn pool yesterday and floated boats that the members made. Tomorrow we'll go to the fish hatchery" said Kim Wagner, volunteer coordinator for Horizons. "The members really enjoy the projects we do, it gives them a chance to do and see things that they might not be able to on their own."

Other than giving the Horizons clients a chance to do and see, the projects also give the community exposure to the clients, and vice versa.

According to Wagner the exposure is extremely important so the clients can remain part of the Yampa Valley community, and it gives them a verity of social situations to take part in.

"The members love to come out into the community and feel the importance they hold with the people that comprise it," she said. "It also gives the community a chance to interact with our members, which in many people's case, is their only exposure they get to Horizons."

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