Youth Community Diversity Featured TU Costa 5 Rivers

How TU chapters and 5 Rivers clubs can work together

Three college students in Alaska.
Warren Wilson College students assisting with salmon research on Alaska's Prince of Wales Island

Online training for chapters and councils planned Oct. 7

When I started TU’s 5 Rivers college program in 2011, I wasn’t exactly sure of the best way to move forward with involving college students in TU. I’d heard of the Rutgers TU Chapter that kept emerging and then disappearing, unable to make it more than a few years without a leadership gap. In addition to these examples of intermittent college chapters, we had trouble with simple brand recognition. I would visit college classrooms and ask students who had heard of Ducks Unlimited: at least a dozen hands went up. But when I posed the same question about TU, the numbers were pretty dismal—maybe three or four hands, tops. I knew then that TU’s Headwaters youth staff had our work cut out for us.

Flash forward nine years and TU Costa 5 Rivers is one of Trout Unlimited’s fastest-growing programs. We have college fly fishing clubs all over the country, and this network of college anglers participates in leadership summits, regional meet-ups, virtual fishing tournaments and more. The 5 Rivers program has its own podcast, Emerging, and its own virtual magazine. TU’s 5 Rivers Coordinator Andrew Loffredo manages all aspects of the program, and his diligence and hard work have resulted in the steady growth of the 5 Rivers club network.

But despite program expansion and student enthusiasm, we still have room for improvement in TU’s college program. I would love to see a deeper connection between TU chapters and the clubs in their region. We have a lot of creative collaboration that could happen once we build those connections, and TU needs younger voices and leadership to carry its important work into the future.

TU’s National Leadership Council (NLC) Youth Education Workgroup is sponsoring a TU Costa 5 Rivers training Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 8 p.m. Eastern, This “5 Rivers 101” training will feature guest presenter Andrew Loffredo and include the following:

  • What is 5 Rivers
  • How to start a 5 Rivers club
  • What a 5 Rivers club can do for your TU chapter
  • What you can do for a 5 Rivers club
  • Question and Answer

We hope you will join the NLC Workgroup for this session as it will prove to be both insightful and informative — Click here to Register

As a preface to the NLC’s October 5 Rivers 101 training, listen to success stories of college student engagement with the TU coldwater conservation mission on Wednesday, September 23rd at 7 pm EST. This presentation is part of the on-going training series and will enable participants to better understand conservation engagement from a student perspective. To register, go to the TU Volunteer Operations Trainings page.

Help us as we expand the TU Costa 5 Rivers to even more schools and get the next generation into Trout Unlimited’s ever-crucial conservation efforts.

By Franklin Tate. Franklin Tate directs TU's Headwaters Youth Program and lives in Asheville, North Carolina.