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C.A.S.T. for Kids at Lake Mead

Young anglers reel in fun, fish, trophies;
volunteers hooked on participants’ joyful smiles

Hooked on fishingOn October 1, 2011, Reclamationís Lower Colorado (LC) Regional Office hosted its 13th annual C.A.S.T. for Kids event at Lake Mead.

Supported by approximately 80 volunteers, 40 disabled or disadvantaged children and their families and caregivers enjoyed a morning of fishing on the lake, followed by a lunch and awards ceremony. Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor and LC Regional Director Lorri Gray-Lee joined in the event, highlighting its features that incorporate aspects of the Letís Move Outside and Take Pride in America initiatives.

Among the 30 agencies partnering with Reclamation were a variety of outdoor activity-related organizations and agencies, local businesses, and organizations that provide assistance and support to disabled and disadvantaged children and adults, and their families or caregivers.

The morning’s gray clouds threatened rain, but event volunteers proceeded in their preparations with a positive attitude. By 7:30 a.m., they were ready to begin, and not a moment too soon. Participants at this year’s C.A.S.T. for Kids (Catch A Special Thrill) event began arriving at just before 8 a.m. Rain or no rain, they were ready to fish.

By 8:30, most of the novice anglers were outfitted with rods, reels, tackle boxes, and personal flotation devices and were making their way to pontoon boats for a morning of excellent fishing.

“It seemed the weather was going to really challenge us, but all worked out okay. It was a great day and it was great providing this opportunity to the kids,” said Event Coordinator Phil Aurit.

“The C.A.S.T. event went very well,” said Regional Director Lorri Gray-Lee. “People were fishing. That was the goal. And the highlights of the day were the two large catches. It was great!”

As morning evolved into midday, fishing gave way to boat rides and then lunch, which was followed by an awards ceremony. In addition to commemorative plaques, trophies and their fishing gear, each participant received a T-shirt, cap, and tote bag filled with a variety of small gift items.

Whether the participants had disabilities or were economically disadvantaged, the one common factor was the ear-to-ear grin on each face. “If a ‘smile-meter’ had been used to measure the success of the event, the needle would have pegged 'beyond success'!” remarked one volunteer.

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Feature Story by Steve Leon, photos by Andy Pernick

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Updated: October 2011