There are many studies that conclude spending time in Nature is proven to reduce stress, improve cognitive skill, improve mood, and support positive mental health and emotional well-being.

Gregory Bratman, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Washington, and colleagues shared evidence that contact with nature is associated with increases in happiness, subjective well-being, positive affect, positive social interactions and a sense of meaning and purpose in life, as well as decreases in mental distress (Science Advances, Vol. 5, No. 7, 2019).

“The current growing body of research combined with an intuitive understanding of the benefits of nature, and the explosion of the use of smartphones and other technology, has led to a tipping point at which health experts, researchers, and government officials are now proposing widespread changes aimed at bringing Nature into people’s everyday lives.” (Yale Environment 360).

But how do we use our time in Nature? What if we had a clear intent of spending our time in Nature with mental wellness in mind?  And better yet, what if we shared that time with others for this intent? The impact can be overwhelmingly positive!

Maybe fishing could be that activity for you.

big fish

Please join us on the beautiful Shenandoah River for the 3rd annual Nick’s Way Fishing for Mental Wellness Tournament, Nature Walk and the Barbecue.

Our goal is to bring awareness to mental health issues, support mental wellness, and raise donations to support the Nick’s Way mission.

This will be a fun tournament and everyone is welcome…whether you have never fished or you are an expert. Everyone will win. There will be guides and equipment for those who need it.

Photos from the 2022 and 2023 fishing events and nature walk:


1. Saturday July 27, 2024.

2. $25 entry fee for each team, deductible as a charitable contribution

3. Check in at 7am at Watermelon Park, which sits on the Shenandoah River in Berryville, VA. You will leave your vehicles here. The address is 3322 Lockes Mill Rd., Berryville, VA 22611.

4. Canoe/Kayak launch is 8am to 8:30am.

5. End fishing by 1:30 pm. Take-out point is Shenandoah University’s Cools Springs Campus, which sits on the river as well and is located in Loudoun County (just north of the Rt, 7 Bridge). The address is 1400 Parker Lane, Bluemont, VA 20135.

6. It is nature, so you know the drill on restrooms while on the river. Restrooms will be available at the launch and take out locations.

7. Barbeque, guest speakers and prizes from 2pm to 4pm

8. Depart at 4pm to 5pm….A bus service is available to transport you back to your vehicle at Watermelon Park.


1. 2 people to each team (2 people per canoe) and, if possible, each team should include a teen, student or young adult.

2. Must bring your own canoe or kayak, and fishing gear….we will work to supply canoes and/or fishing equipment for those who need them. You can let us know on the Registration form if you need a canoe or equipment.

3. Must sign a waiver form (see below), all participants must have a life vest, and NO alcohol is permitted.

4. 1 point is received for each fish caught (you must release the fish to count as a catch).  The honor system will apply, pictures are good proof.  The most points (fish) wins.  Any type or size fish counts as 1 point.

5. All fish should be safely released!

6. There will be “guides” on the river during the tournament to assist in any manner.

NATURE WALK DETAILS (12:30pm to 1:45pm):

1. Saturday July 27, 2024.

2. There is no waiver needed.  Just register you are not fishing and join the walk.

3. Shenandoah University’s Cools Springs Campus, which sits on the river as well and is located in Loudoun County (just north of the Rt, 7 Bridge). The address is 1400 Parker Lane, Bluemont, VA 20135.

4. We’ll start at the pavilion at 12:30pm and return by 1:45pm.

5. The trail is hard surface, so normal walking/running shoes are fine.

6.  You will see various wildlife and hopefully a few eagles.  Bring your camera.


1. Saturday July 27, 2024

2. Great food and drinks provided for everyone

3. Nicks Way Update and Guest Speakers

4. Prizes and Giveaways

5. Depart at 4pm to 5pm….A bus service will transport you back to your vehicle at Watermelon Park.

This is a fun event, so please bring your smiles and patience.

Nick’s Way – 3rd annual Fishing For Mental Wellness Tournament, Nature Walk and Barbecue – July 27, 2024

In order to receive an accurate headcount, for the food (BBQ), we need everyone to register below whether you are fishing or joining the nature walk.

Need a canoe or kayak?
Need Fishing Equipment?
NICK’S WAY ANNUAL FISHING TOURNAMENT RELEASE READ CAREFULLY The Nick’s Way Fishing for Mental Wellness (the “Tournament”) is brought to you by Nick’s Way, a 501 (c)(3) Virginia non-profit organization. In consideration of the participation in the Tournament being held on the Shenandoah River and at Watermelon Park Campground and the Shenandoah Cools Springs Campus located in Virginia(the “Property”), I, acting for myself and any minor children under my care, custody or responsibility (each a “Minor” and one or more the “Minors”), hereby freely and voluntarily agree to the following representations, waivers, and agreements: I understand that(a) fishing and accessing rivers and streams and other bodies of water for fishing purposes and generally engaging in physical activity on the Property (collectively, “Activities”) involves risk, including risk of personal injury and death; and (b) while engaging in Activities, I will be exposed to risks that independently or in any combination of the Activities or Activities of others may cause injury, including potentially severe or fatal injuries, to myself or others. I agree that I alone am responsible formy proper preparation and safety, and the proper preparation and safety of any Minor, while engaging in any of the Activities.. Neither I nor any Minor has any physical or medical condition that would endanger me, any Minor, or others, while I am engaging or any Minor is engaging in Activities. I am, and each Minor, is physically capable of participation in the Activities and can engage in the Activities without any assistance from Nick’s Way. Being fully aware of the risks, conditions and hazards associated with the participation in Activities, I, for myself and any Minor agree to assume the risk of physical injury to myself and any Minor or loss of my or any Minor’s personal property and hereby agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Nick’s Way, the owners of any Property used during the Tournament, and the Tournament, and any and all of their respective officers, directors, shareholders, partners, employees, personnel, contractors, or agents thereof from liability for any and all injury, loss, illness, harm or damage resulting from my or any Minor’s participation in the Activities other than that which directly results from the gross negligence or willful misconduct of Nick’s Way. I also agree, for myself and any Minors, that the above waivers, releases, and indemnifications are not mere recitals, but are binding, and are intended to be as broad and inclusive as permitted by the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. If any term or provision of this Agreement is found invalid or unenforceable, the remaining terms and provisions of this Agreement shall remain binding and enforceable. I, acting for myself and any Minor, have executed this Release on the date shown below. FOR ADULTS: I acknowledge that I am 18 years of age or older, and that I have read and understand the contents of this document on behalf of me and any Minors.
Accept Release? *
Click to open the release above, then click Yes.
PHOTOGRAPH RELEASE FORM I, for myself and any minor child under my care, custody or responsibility (each , a “Minor”) give Nick’s Way, a 501(c)(3) Virginia non-profit organization, permission to use my likeness and the likeness of any Minor and to take, edit, publish, and use any and all pictures or video and images of me and any Minor taken or made by or on behalf of Nick’s Way at any time during The Nick’s Way Fishing for Wellness Tournament.  I agree, for myself and any Minor, that Nick’s Way shall have complete ownership of such pictures, etc., including the entire copyright, and may use them to promote the mission of Nick’s Way.  I understand that neither I nor any Minor will receive any compensation for the use of such pictures, etc.. I, for myself and any Minor, waive the right to inspect or approve any finished product in which my or any Minor’s likeness appears, including written or electronic copy. This authorization shall continue indefinitely, unless I otherwise revoke this authorization in writing delivered to Nick’s Way. I have read and understood this consent and release.
Accept Photography Release? *
Click to open the release above, then click Yes.

After hitting the Submit button, you will be redirected to our donation page for the $25 entry fee.