How I Got Started
My name is Chasten Whitfield. I work to help disadvantaged kids forget their troubles for one day, as well as to share the joys of fishing with elementary and middle school kids all over Florida. Fishing is the tool I use to reach out to kids and get them to open up about daily troubles, Bulling, social media and talk about doing what’s right, and learn that we were all given two hands — one to help ourselves and another to help others. I was picked on in 7th grade for being that only girl in school who fished, my mom talked me into doing a tournament and I won first place and have been hooked ever since.
By freshman year of high school I got tired of being the only girl in the tournaments, so I reached out to some friends and taught them how to fish and we fished tournaments and gave every penny back to a kid charity. Sometimes we gave back even more than we won in the tournament. Each time we would go up on stage to receive our check we would give it back to whatever charity we were fishing for, Which was an absolute blast. I give kids a chance to experience fishing through my foundation— Chastenation (a group of friends and companies who support the work I do for children).
In their day-to-day lives, some of the kids I work with fight for their lives, but on the days they are with me, they only have to fight a fish. The fish don’t care if they’re tall, skinny, a girl or a boy — fish don’t judge.
Sophomore year of high school, I met a 5-year-old with spinal bifida at a fish camp. While we were fishing off a pier, he told me that he had never caught a fish or been in a boat before. I told him I was so sure he would catch a fish off the pier that I would take him in my boat after he caught a fish. Well, my little friend Easton caught 12 snapper that day! I borrowed a friend’s boat (so that Easton’s wheelchair would fit), and I took him fishing in the boat. That day changed the rest of my life. I was making my short term and long term goals and was sharing my plans with the owners of Yellowfin boats. Yellowfin offered to make an handicap accessible boat to make things easier taking kids in wheelchairs fishing. For the first 6 months of my junior year of high school I met with Yellowfin, once a month to make this boat. I even took Easton with me to “fit” him in the boat.
"I borrowed a friend’s boat (so that Easton’s wheelchair would fit), and I took him fishing in the boat.
That day changed the rest of my life."
By my senior year my team and I have taken over 47 sick/disadvantage children fishing. From Face Autism, Children’s Dream Fund, Manasota Buds Down syndrome, and many more local charities WE had raised over $9,000 for face autism, and $3,000 Fl Children’s Burn camp and many more. I was preparing for my departure to college and trying to fit in as many kids as I could while still traveling around the State of Florida teaching kids to do what’s right while teaching the basics of fishing. November of my senior year I turned 18 I had been waiting for this day forever. The week of my 18th birthday I completed the paperwork for my very own 5013c and took my charter captain license class and test. I turned 18 and became an adult as well an USCG license charter captain and the owner of a 501c3. Part 1 is complete!!
I am extremely excited to have been accepted to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). While there, I plan to pursue a degree in TV and Film Production. For example, I want to be able to tell the stories of the kids I help, capturing their stories in videos and photographs.
My career aspirations and ultimate desired impact would be to have all kids treated the same, with each getting an opportunity to do what makes them happy. I hope to achieve my goal of owning and hosting my own fishing show focused on kids’ fishing, thereby joining both my education at SCAD and my love of fishing. The goals of these fishing trips are to help them forget their troubles for one day, enjoy some time on the water and experience the excitement of reeling in their own catch. My YouTube videos help tell their stories so that we can share in their journeys in life, what they have gone through and what they love to do, as well as show viewers how these experiences are so much more than “just fishing.”
So, aside from my schoolwork, and traveling state to state during the college bass fishing with my yellowfin boat and truck fishing bass tournaments. I stay very involved helping special-needs children; fishing inshore salt tournaments during the summer and helping middle school students stay on track and do what’s right. That’s the legacy I want to leave the world. Someday, I hope people will remember me as Chasten Whitfield, the woman who made a positive difference in the lives of many children.