Sugarloaf Guide Bonnie Holding named 2010 LL Bean Outdoor Hero
Ongoing work with Casting for Recovery program garners prestigious honor
CARRABASSETT VALLEY, ME – Master Maine Guide Bonnie Holding has added another award to the long list of recognitions she has received throughout her career as a fly-fishing guide. LL Bean, the iconic outdoor retailer, recently recognized Holding as one of its 2010 LL Bean Outdoor Heroes for her ongoing work with the Casting for Recovery Program.
Casting for Recovery is national non-profit organization dedicated to educating or supporting women who have or have had breast cancer. Holding has volunteered her time as a program coordinator and retreat leader for the organization for the past 11 years.
Holding also runs Sugarloaf’s Guided Adventures Program during the summer months, leading guests on fly-fishing, canoeing, and hiking trips in the Maine woods.
Holding was one of only six people in the nation to be honored as an Outdoor Hero by LL Bean. According to the LL Bean web site, the retail giant began the award three years ago to thank those who have dedicated their time to preserving the outdoors, and who help to change the world around us for the better. Each award winner is awarded a $5,000 grant towards his or her organization to support continued preservation, conservation, and educational efforts.
“I had no idea this was coming. The representative from LL Bean surprised me with it while I was out teaching a client and I was shocked,” Holding said. “It’s such an incredible honor. I’m so thankful to LL Bean and couldn’t be happier about the exposure this gives to Casting for Recovery. This is really a huge benefit for that program.”
According to LL Bean, Holding’s determined efforts as a fundraiser, activist, leader and caring individual have led dozens of women and their families to find new hope and confidence, make new friends, and discover the value of sharing their experience with others. In this way, entire communities benefit from her work.
Holding has lived and worked in the Sugarloaf area for more than 20 years and has been a Registered Maine Guide for just as long. She has led the Tim Pond Fly Fishing School in Eustis for the past 22 years, and has taught fly fishing to clients in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Minnesota. In 2005, Outdoor Life Magazine recognized her as one of the top guides in all of North America.
It has been her work with Casting for Recovery, however, that has provided the biggest reward. The program provides weekend retreats at no cost to participants, and is open to any woman who has experience breast cancer. The retreats provide an avenue for social support and group interactions, reducing the feeling of isolation many survivors might have. The dynamics of fly fishing provide a healing connection to the natural world, relieving everyday stressors and promoting a sense of calm.
To read more about Bonnie and the LL Bean Outdoor Heroes program, please visit www.llbean.com.
To learn more about Casting for Recovery, please visit www.castingforrecovery.org.
For more information about the Guided Adventures Program at Sugarloaf, please visit www.sugarloaf.com.