Thursday, July 9, 2009

10th Annual CAST For Kids Event Splashes Down at Shasta Lake, Shasta Lake City, California

On Saturday, June 13th, 2009, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation/Northern California Area Office in partnership with the C.A.S.T. For Kids Foundation and Take pride in America, held its 10th annual CAST for Kids event on Shasta Lake, in beautiful Northern California. Thirty-nine happy, special kids headed out on the water on what ended up being a picture perfect day. While sunny blue skies and spring-like temperatures ended up greeting the excited anglers, the night before was a much different story. One of the regions summer storms, bringing wind, rain, and lightning, blew through as event organizers were setting up, giving some concern about how the weather would affect the turnout. By the time the storm came through, a third of an inch of rain fell, and wind blew over some of the shade tents. But that was no match for the excitement of the day, as the eager group of boaters, kids and volunteers showed up bright and early, ready to take on the task at hand: fishing beautiful Shasta Lake!

Boaters from local bass clubs, some as far away as Red Bluff, came to take special needs kids out to share their passion for the sport of fishing, and enjoying the outdoors. The day started with registration and a visit from the California Highway Patrol with their sidekick Chipper. A brief boating safety talk was given by Shasta County Sheriff’s deputies while the group ate a light breakfast, after which our group was eager to hit the lake and catch the big ones. Launching 32 boats was made smooth with the help of several Reclamation employees who pitched in to help make it all happen.

When the group returned from their morning of fishing, they were welcomed by Smokey Bear from the US Forest Service and a big BBQ lunch cooked up by the Redding Elks Lodge with food provided by many local businesses. As lunch was eaten, and fish stories shared, you could just see the fondness that had developed between these special kids and their fishing mentors. It’s hard to tell who had more fun- the kids or the volunteers who took them out!

As the day ended, each child was given a plaque to commemorate the day, along with a goody bag full of donated items from the local community. As the group started to leave, there were lots of hugs, smiles, and promises to “see ya’ next year!”

“I just wanted to say a big ‘Thank You’, remarked Sherrie Brooks, one of the parents. “This was the first year our eight-year-old son Brad participated in CAST For Kids. It was fantastic! My husband and son had a wonderful time on one of the pontoon boats; they learned more about fishing and enjoyed being in the great outdoors on Shasta Lake. I was very impressed with the organization of the event. It far exceeded our expectations. We look forward to next year. What a great program for kids with special needs. Thanks once again”.

When it comes down to it…that’s what it is all about!

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