Bill Girvan Awarded "Program of the Year" by NYSTRA for Trout in the RTF Program

April 7, 2017

Bill Girvan, Recreational Therapy Team Leader Bill Girvan, Recreational Therapy Team Leader

From all of us at The House, we'd like to wish a BIG congratulations to Bill Girvan who won the Program of the Year Award from the New York State Therapeutic Recreation Association for his Trout in the RTF program!

Bill received the award at a ceremony on April 2. 

The Trout program originally began in the classrooms, but Bill came up with the idea to tailor it for the RTF program. He hand-built a special structure to house the Trout that would make it safe for the children.

Trout in the Classroom - a program in many local schools - takes more of a biology-based approach, whereas Trout in the RTF has a therapy-based format, Bill explained. It offers many kinds of lessons for the kids through its therapeutic approach. Both programs are made possible by the Mohawk Valley Chapter Of Trout Unlimited and have a common goal of releasing juvenile Brook & Brown Trout into local Trout Streams in late May or in June.

Bill explained the significance of this program is teaching children about the life cycle and how to nurture.

"This activity teaches our children about the Life Cycle of the Brook Trout which is New York State's official fish," he said. "Also, it teaches them about responsibility by caring for the young fish, their clean and cold water environment they live in, and their important role in helping the fish grow and change."  

"For our children, it's a big accomplishment when they get to release their young Brook Trout they raised into Sauquoit Creek in the area by the Disabled Fishing Access Deck in New York Mills (which is dedicated to and named for Bill!)," Bill said. "They feel it is a sanctuary for their fish to grow into adult fish. This special therapeutic activity has really helped some of our children move through treatment in our program over the past five years."
Bill described a specific example in which he saw the benefits of this great program.

"On one Christmas Eve, all but two of our children went home for the holiday," he said. "Kind of a sad time for them, until the magic started as our 160 or so Brook Trout eggs started to hatch, and this lasted through Christmas Day! Our two children had a great time watching most of them hatch, and it really helped make them feel happy, even though they didn't get to go home."

Thank you, Bill, for making this program possible and being such an instrumental part of changing children's lives every day. Congratulations on your well-deserved award!


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