“Introducing the enjoyment of the great outdoors to kids and families is what we’re all about,” Mark Tipler said of Tips Outdoor Foundation.  His organization recently joined the ranks of National Professional Anglers Association Non Profit Partners.

The relationship with NPAA will spread the word about the Foundation’s outdoor mentorship program.  “In our year-round program for everything outdoors, we would like more NPAA members to become Certified Outdoor Mentors.  Our mentors can also participate at the many NPAA “Future Angler” events already taking place,” Tipler said.  He also will support NPAA members who start educational outdoor programs in their regions.

Teaching kids to enjoy the outdoors and equipping them with the tools to be confident was only part of the equation.  “We need to get the parents involved, too,” he said.  “They also need to know where to go fishing, how to use a compass, know gun safety, how to canoe, and do what they like outdoors.  This will get the entire family into God’s Great Outdoors.”

He acquired a two-year Non-Profit Management degree and a Certified Fund-Raising executive degree from the University of St. Thomas in 2009.  That year, Tips Outdoor Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, was off and running. It was an extension of the hundreds of outdoor seminars and youth activities Tipler was already conducting.

Working with Mike Kurre, MN DNR mentoring coordinator and Big Brothers & Big Sisters of the Twin Cities, the DNR, Mark Strand of the School of Outdoor Sports, and Henry Hubben of Big Woods Club, the Minnesota Certified Outdoor Mentor program was born.  “Henry and I are the two state instructors for the Certified Outdoor Mentor program, and in the past three years, have certified 210 individuals to teach others via the state DNR,” Tipler said.

Many Certified Outdoor Mentors assist Tipler in Foundation activities.  In 2013, these included 48 outdoor educational events for groups from 10 to 500.  The Foundation helps produce a Leukemia – Lymphoma Society fund-raising tournament, Lefties Lunkers, with the Minnesota Twins baseball team and founders Glen Perkins and Brian Dunsing.  Tipler himself suffered massive burns in a 1981 accident, and now conducts the Regions Hospital Burn Center fund-raising “Mark Tipler” celebrity bass tournament with the Phoenix Society on Lake Minnetonka June 6.  He and his mentors are in the Minneapolis, Crystal – Robbinsdale, Champlin and St. Paul schools and the Twin Cities YWCA and YMCA, teaching archery, camping and fishing in classrooms, on the water and on the ice.

“This is what I do 12 months of the year,” he said.  “I will be at the NPAA Conference Jan. 3 – 5, and look forward to talking with many NPAA members about becoming Certified Outdoor Mentors.  Our sport and our future depend on it.”

Learn more at Tips Outdoor Foundation Website:  www.tipsoutdoors.org 

Logo courtesy National Professional Anglers Association

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