The Bureau of Reclamation's Phoenix Area Office hosted its 12th annual C.A.S.T. for Kids fishing event at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, north of Phoenix, Ariz. on April 23, 2011. C.A.S.T., which stands for Catch a Special Thrill, offers children with disabilities or socioeconomic disadvantages an opportunity to enjoy a day of fishing. This year, the four key principles of the Let's Move Outside! initiative, a component of the first lady's Let's Move campaign, became the focal point of the day.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science John Tubbs came out from Washington to support the Let's Move Outside! emphasis on health, family, fun, and stewardship.
"We've got about a hundred volunteers out here with kids from the Phoenix area enjoying a great day of fishing here on beautiful Lake Pleasant. We're getting people outdoors, in America's Great Outdoors. I'm just happy to be here and be a part of it," Tubbs said from a speedboat piloted by Reclamation's Phoenix area manager Randy Chandler. They were accompanied by David Modeer, general manager of the Central Arizona Project. No trouble finding kids reeling in those fish – the large-mouth bass were biting this year!
While the participating children were out fishing, their families enjoyed a casting practice experience on shore and lessons on stewardship from Liberty Wildlife, a local organization that rehabilitates injured wild birds.
This year's C.A.S.T. for Kids event emphasized good nutrition and healthy food choices by offering fruit, raw vegetables to snack on, and a turkey-burger option at lunch. Recipe cards for healthy foods that are fun to make and fun to eat were included in the participating children's goody-bags, along with rules for outdoor games the whole family could enjoy.
"I saw a lot of big smiles on kids' faces and a lot of big fish, too," Tubbs said, speaking at the awards ceremony during which each child receives a plaque and a trophy. "It was great to see people happy, enjoying the water and the weather. I want to thank all the volunteers and the boat captains today. This is a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy the water and our great outdoors." He added, "I'll be sure to bring back word to the assistant secretary about what a fantastic event this is."
This year's event allowed 37 children with disabilities or who are socioeconomically disadvantaged to spend a morning out on the lake, courtesy of volunteers from the Arizona Bass Federation. Their safety was ensured by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The event could not take place without the cooperation and contributions of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District and Maricopa County Parks and Recreation, which manages the recreational facilities at the lake, formed by New Waddell Dam on the Central Arizona Project, through an agreement with Reclamation.
The C.A.S.T. for Kids fishing event at Lake Pleasant is hosted by the Bureau of Reclamation's Phoenix Area office; Steve Johnson is the coordinator. Cooperating agencies include the Arizona Bass Federation; Arizona Game and Fish Department; Central Arizona Project; Coast Guard Auxiliary; Liberty Wildlife; and the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department. Children are referred from the Paradise Valley Unified School District Special Olympics; Quality Care Network; and the Vineyard Church of North Phoenix.
Sponsors donate fishing equipment (including worms) and provide food, items for goody bags, trophies, exhibits and everything needed to make the day enjoyable for all involved. This year's sponsors included: Arizona Bass Federation; Baker Wee Bakery; Bill Johnson's Restaurants; Central Arizona Project, President's Award for Community Service; Coca-Cola Enterprises; Shamrock Foods Co.; Dairy Maid Foods; First Credit Union; Fry's Food Stores; Salt River Solar & Wind LLC; and Sav-On Fence Co.
C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation was formed in 1991 to join volunteers who love to fish with children who are disabled and disadvantaged children for a day of fishing in the outdoors. The first C.A.S.T. for Kids event was held in 1992 in Washington state in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation.
Let's Move Outside! engages young people from all backgrounds in a range of educational programs and self-guided activities on America's public lands and waters.
Released: April 28, 2011