Mount Si High School student Charles Grant Finney has spent his entire life in the Snoqualmie Valley fishing. His Dad, Bryan, likes to say he “learned to walk while wading (and falling) in the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie looking for trout.” Since Charles-Grant, CG to his friends and family, was a toddler, he was always drawn to the water.
When he was maybe 3 years old, his Dad recalls a time when they could not find him in their house or the yard. As he is an only child and they were relatively new parents, his parents were a little bit panicky.
Says Bryan, “When we did finally find him, he was down near a little stream with a little net catching little fish. Although he was little, he simply said, Daddy – where else would I be?” The rivers, streams, and lakes of the Snoqualmie Valley are where he seemed to find his adventures and his solace.
Growing up, he spent his time exploring virtually all the areas of the Valley that would possibly hold a fish. Knowing the thrill and adventure of exploring and fishing the Valley, his Dad thinks CG finds more happiness in showing and teaching kids how and where to fish than any fish he has caught.
As a senior this year, Charles-Grant plays football and Lacrosse for Mt Si. Although their season was cut short, the football team ended up undefeated and ranked #1 in the State. CG corralled his friend and teammate, Caleb Dalgleish, to start Snoqualmie Valley Youth Fishing Charter to bring the joy and adventure of getting outdoors, away from the screen and learning the excitement of catching that first fish.
Says CG, “My generation has grown up with a computer screen in our pockets, living rooms, bedroom and schools. Having experienced the nature and beauty of our valley, my friend Caleb and I decided to start a program to help kids in the Valley get off their screens and into nature. There is nothing quite like seeing a child’s smile when they get that first bite and catch their first fish.”
CG and Caleb have taken out more than 30 young people since launching Snoqualmie Youth Charters. They try and limit the group to one or two kids (under 16) per trip. The kids learn to cast, catch (and be patient), clean and take home the fish they catch. Although there are no guarantees in nature, the kids almost always catch a fish and, says CG, “We get to catch their smile!” Their Facebook page is full of raves by local parents whose kids had tons of fun and want to go out again.
They launched Charters to help kids who have been stuck inside behind a screen all year to get outside, enjoy nature and go fishing. They believe too many kids in the Valley have been stuck inside for too long.
Snoqualmie Valley Youth Charters is open to kids 16 and under. The program is run entirely by high school kids who have been raised in the Valley and know where to find the fish. The money raised helps them pay for college while helping the youth in the Valley get out and explore nature in a safe and healthy environment.