Nic Pisterzi certainly doesn’t consider himself a hero, but he does acknowledge that he approaches his role in shaping the next generation a little differently than some.
“I guess I’m kind of a non-traditionalist when it comes to teaching,” Pisterzi says. “I try to think outside the box and I’m big on innovation. With that comes some issues, for sure, because there are bumps along the way. You have to embrace that and be willing to get through the tough stuff, and bring the kids along through it alongside you.”
Like Carihi Fly Fishing, for example. It was a little project that Pisterzi pitched as one of his innovative ideas, willing to take a gamble.
And the numbers speak for themselves.
Two years ago, the idea of Carihi Fly Fishing began as a little after-school club he started to see if there was any interest in learning the sport.
Over the course of two years, it went from a club to one class, to two classes, to two classes and a competitive team – members of which, by the way, make up half of the Canadian Youth National Fly Fishing Team as we discovered after their performances at the National Championships last month in Maple Ridge.
“I chose this job to do my bit to make the world spin a little better, a little happier,” he says. “And I think I’m doing that. My approach to teaching is very relationship-based. I’m all about building real relationships with these kids. I don’t just ask them how their weekend was, I actually want to know the answer,” he says with a laugh.
“I don’t want them to just get through school, I want them to get good at life, and whatever I can do to nurture them and get them there, I’m happy to go the extra mile to do that.”
His reward, after all, isn’t the paycheque – because if it was he certainly wouldn’t be doing what he’s doing – it’s seeing the young people he’s been tasked with helping for a few hours per day develop into people he’s comfortable leaving in charge of the world we’re leaving to them.
“There’s nothing better than the smiles on their faces and watching them go on to make good decisions in life.”