Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2009 Cast for Kids Fishing Event, Lake Bastrop, Texas

The fifth annual Catch a Special Thrill (CAST) for Kids fishing event on April 25th, 2009 at Lake Bastrop in Bastrop, Texas was a great success. Once again, the Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado River Authority, and Blue Bonnet Electric Cooperative partnered to provide a fun-filled day of boating and fishing. The event was also billed as a “Take Pride in America” function.

A total of 33 children (age ranges 5 to 15 years old) attended the event, accompanied by dozens of family members and friends. Once again, we hosted those with a variety of disabilities including cerebral palsy, Hunter’s disease, autism, Down’s syndrome, and cancer to name a few. Overall, participants represented the Bastrop Independent School District (ISD), Del Valley ISD, Austin ISD, San Marcos ISD, and Austin’s Dell Children’s Hospital. Upon arrival, each child was provided with breakfast, a fishing pole, tackle box, shirt, cap, as well as a special prize lunch box that contained bottled water, sunscreen, disposable camera, and a special toy. During the award’s ceremony, Smoky the Bear made a special appearance to hand out plaques to each of the event’s participants.

A total of 28 captains donated their time and their boats to the special event. As always, we ended up with a perfect match of the number of boats and kids. Furthermore, almost 100 volunteers were on-hand to ensure a wonderful day of safe fishing. In all, about 190 people attended this year’s event.

Finally, the event could not be made possible without the generous support of our event sponsors. In all, this year’s event had almost 20 sponsors. Most notable sponsors include Wal-Mart, which provided cash and volunteers, and Chili’s, which provided lunch and cooked up fresh chicken and beef fajitas with all the trimmings.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Linendoll's - Outstanding Volunteers!

Since 2003, Zion National Park has had the honor of receiving volunteer services from Ken and Nancy Linendoll. They have been campground hosts at Watchman Campground each year, most recently departing Zion in October 2008 after another successful season. During their time here, Ken and Nancy have become trusted and loved members of the Zion family; everyone who has had the privilege of interacting with them has discovered that they are two of the friendliest, kindest, most genuine, caring people ever to have visited the park and our lives.

Ken and Nancy have always been willing to go the extra mile. In 2005, after completing the full length of their volunteer season, they stepped in and continued volunteering in the campground when the hosts who were set to follow them were unable to fulfill their commitment. The following season, their fellow campground host had some health issues that resulted in him requiring surgery and a lengthy recovery time. This kept him from being able to work as a campground host on Ken and Nancy’s days off. Not only did they work nearly every one of their days off to ensure the campground staff had the assistance they needed, Ken and Nancy also helped take care of and nurse their co-host back to health, driving him to the hospital and doctor appointments, caring for his dog, and cooking him meals. These are the kinds of things Ken and Nancy selflessly do on a regular basis to improve the lives of and help out the people around them.

Over the years, the love and pride Ken and Nancy feel for Zion National Park has been shown through their actions. They have represented the park in the local town’s parades; they have been great ambassadors for the park in their interactions with campers and other visitors, passionately educating them about all the great opportunities that abound here; they have shown amazing dedication to Watchman Campground and the NPS staff by giving serious thought about ways to improve the operation to provide for a better work environment for the staff and a better visitor experience. They have forged lasting friendships with many members of the Zion National Park staff and get along amazingly well with staff members from all divisions of the park, from the maintenance staff to the law enforcement rangers to the dispatchers to the fee rangers.

The entire staff at Zion National Park is proud to have the opportunity to congratulate Ken and Nancy on their amazing accomplishment of receiving the Presidential Volunteer Award. Words cannot express the appreciation we feel not only for the incredible work they do for the park, but especially for the time we’ve been lucky enough to spend with them and the privilege it is to call them friends. We look forward to seeing their smiling faces back in the glow of the red rock of Zion!

Jill Modrak-Killian
Watchman Campground Supervisor
Zion National Park

Once Ken and Nancy finish their work at Zion National Park, they move on to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and volunteer for another 3 or 4 months as fee assistants at the Monument's Twin Peaks Campground. Pictured above with the Linendoll's is Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Chief of Interpretation, Andy Fisher.

San Diego River Park Foundation

At a recent San Diego River Park Foundation event co-sponsored by Take Pride in America, the Bureau of Reclamation Southern California Area Office, the California Department of Transportation: Don't Trash California Campaign, Union Bank of California and REI, volunteers removed over 6,000 pounds of trash!! The ninety-five volunteers, included Navy personnel & family members and employees from a local Wells Fargo Bank.

One lucky volunteer happened upon this 98 year old trophy! The trophy was awarded to the American Show Print Company. The company started in 1849 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and created the lighted scoreboards for baseball games. It makes you wonder how it got all the way to the banks of the San Diego River!