My first stop was Ray’s Food place where I encountered the warm smiles from the friendly bakery staff to pick up donuts for our early volunteers, then off to Starbucks where again I experienced a kindhearted greeting while picking up some of the best coffee this side of the Rockies. To add to my experiences, while driving through town I noticed several boaters lined the street in front of “The Brother’s Diner,” where they were no doubt enjoying a hearty breakfast from one of our main sponsors prior to heading out to the Catch a Special Thrill (C.A.S.T.) event. What a heartwarming experience it is to be a C.A.S.T. coordinator and witness firsthand the spirit of community support in full swing.
It was one of those perfect days in the high desert of Central Oregon where the morning air was crisp and clean as you felt the warmth of the early morning sun cresting over mountains that surround Prineville Reservoir. You could tell there was excitement in the air and that this day was going to be anything, but normal. Today, scores of volunteers were preparing for the event in anticipation of capturing a special moment with one of our 35 guests signed up for this year’s C.A.S.T. for kid’s event.
The impact of the event is significant and long lasting. C.A.S.T. is one of those rare organizations that demonstrate its leadership role in building inclusive communities by adapting programs, practices, and policies to promote the participation of children with disabilities. It provides educational opportunities to learn about the natural resources available to them and the proper stewardship of these resources. This is all made possible through the cooperation of government agencies, local sponsors, and interest groups that create a rare and positive experience for our youth and their families. About 25 kids attended this year’s event and were happily greeted by some 53 enthusiastic volunteers.
Along with plaques and prizes given out to all the participants, recognition awards were also given out by Scott Boelman, the manager of the Bend Field Office and Brenda DeGree the vice- president of the Central Oregon Bass Club to all our sponsors for their unconditional support of 15 years this event has been held at Prineville Reservoir, Oregon State Parks.
This year’s event was without a doubt a huge success, from the kid’s big eyes and wide smiles as the boats pulled out of the lake with bags of fish, to a well tamed appetite from the BBQ. It is truly an honor to participate in the C.A.S.T. program, creating memories for our honored guests and families.
Sponsors: Kiwanis Club, Central Oregon Bass Club, Ray’s Food Place, Grocery Outlet, Tom & Charlie’s Diner, The Dawg House, The Apple Peddler, Crook County Search & Rescue, Crook County Sheriff Marine Division, Starbucks, Oregon State Parks (Prineville Reservoir), National Fish Carvers Guild, Pepsi Cola, Thriftway, Fred Myers, Wholesale Sports, and Eberhard’s Dairy.
By Dale Barrett, Field Office Assistant, Bend Field Office
Released: July 18, 2012