Lakecaster Online

Smiles were Contagious at C.A.S.T. for Kids
By Patty Lenderman

For the third year running, the C.A.S.T. for Kids organization held their event in Jasper, TX. The event took place at Ebeneezer Park, just west of the Sam Rayburn Dam and there was plenty of room for all of the activities that were organized for the kids. This event is specially designed for "special needs" children and there is no cost to the participants. The food, drinks, activities, entertainment are all donated so that these kids can forget their daily physical or medical problems and treatments and just have fun. The joy that each person present experienced, whether it be the kids, parents, friends or volunteers was so overwhelming when one of these kids smiled at each of their accomplishments that it was contagious for anyone around. Over 200 kids from Jasper, Sabine, Tyler and Newton counties came for a great day of family fun.

The event in Jasper is the largest C.A.S.T. event in the country, now for the second year in a row. Art Pasley, the Southern Region Director for the event came to organize the first Jasper event in 2001. He talked to Glenda Moore who works with the Children with Special Needs and advised her to choose 35 children to come participate, which is the "norm" for other C.A.S.T. events throughout the country. She asked how she was only to choose 35, but none the less did so because of the limited fishing activities available for the kids. The next year, in 2002 Art Pasley came back to coordinate the event for the second year and was at the Stump Restaurant talking to Mike Taylor about the C.A.S.T. organization. Mike asked why so few kids, and suggested to make it bigger. Art said so, what, 50 kids? Mike did not want to leave a single Special Needs child at home and got busy contacting different people with other resources in the community. It wasn't long before Todd Driscoll of Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries jumped in and suggested their involvement providing a catfish tank for the kids to fish in. Pretty soon more people were getting involved providing a variety of activities, food and general whatever is needed kind of help.

In this event, all levels of volunteers from federal, state and private come together to help make it a success. This year the Emergency Corps came to take the kids out on boat rides on Sam Rayburn. Transportation to the boat ramp area was provided in hay ride form by Jasper Farm and Ranch. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries provided the catfish tank and helped the kids catch lots of fish. Just Archery came with bows, arrows and targets for all the kids to be able to shoot a target. Wallace's Saddle Up brought horses, some fitted with specially designed saddles that would accommodate the most handicapped, keeping them securely on the saddle while riding a horse. Operation Game Thief was there with displays and videos for the kids to see. The Stump Restaurant, Foremost and Advantage Plus Homecare served food and drinks. Eddye Sunday provided entertainment as a ventriloquist and live music was provided by CANVIS. There was a petting zoo with baby goats, bunnies, kittens and puppies. The Boy Scouts Troop #932 was on hand to help with parking and to handle the Color Guard. The Corps of Engineers provided the park area as well as park rangers to jump in and help wherever necessary as well as teaching boating safety.

The C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation was formed in 1991 to join volunteers who love to fish with disabled and disadvantaged children for a day of fishing in the outdoors. The C.A.S.T. for Kids event was designed to create an environment whereby both children and adults could benefit, each taking from the day their own lessons. Children and adults could leave their problems on whore and share a day of fun on the water. Twelve years later, C.A.S.T. for Kids continues to fulfil this purpose while realizing others:
- Increasing awareness of disabled and disadvantaged children in our communities
- Appreciation for natural resources
- Cooperation of government agencies and local interest groups within our areas
- Creating a rare and positive experience for youth

The C.A.S.T. for Kids program has not only evolved in purpose, but in scope. During each of the Foundations first four years three events were held in the states of Washington and Idaho. Since then, the total number of annual events has grown to 49 in 32 states! Each year more volunteers assist, more donors contribute and more children participate.

"The tremendous outpour of caring for these kids from the immediate and surrounding areas is overwhelming. The C.A.S.T. organization thankful for sincerely appreciates the continued support of all of the donors and volunteers and is looking forward to next year's successful C.A.S.T. for kids event." - Art Pasley

Special thanks go to so many:
Mke Taylor (The Stump Restaurant), Texas Parks & Wildlife Inland Fisheries, Glenda Moore of Children with Special Needs organization, KJAS Radio, Tom McClurg, Executive Director of Jasper Economic Development, Kelly Jones Sr. of Pro Inspect in LaPorte, TX, KIWANIS Club, and Tom Harkins of Casa Ole.

Thank you to all of the sponsors, without whom this would not be possible:
Advantage Home Health Care; Advertising Visual; Anglers Quest; Boy Scouts of America Troop 932; Brent Meaux State Farm Insurance; Buck Springs Water; Casa Ole' Restaurants; Cater Contractors; Challenged Sportsman; Christus Jasper Memorial Hospital; Texas Parks & Wildlife, Crystal Clear Ice; Dawson Marine; Dr. Michael Fleck; Elijah's Restaurant; ENTERGY; First National Bank of Jasper; Foremost Dairy; Gold Star Emergency Medical; Holiday Inn Express; Jasper Farm & Ranch; Jasper Newton Electric CoOp; Jasper Police Department; Jasper Sheriffs Department; JEDCO; Jerry's Automotive & Collision; Just Archery Bow Club; KIWANIS Club of Jasper;
KJAS Radio; Leo's Club of Jasper; Lion's Club of Jasper; Party Perfect; Pro-Inspect; Rayburn Country Resort; Rayburn Tackle; Sealy Outdoors; Ta Mollies Restaurant; Texas Forestry Service; The Stump Restaurant; U.S. Army Corp of Engineers; U.S. Foods; Vin's Paint & Body; Walker Blueline; Wallace's Saddle Up; Wal-Mart of Jasper; Winnies Minnies

July 18-19 will be the dinner, auction and golf tournament for C.A.S.T. put together by the newly formed Celebrity Anglers Association and their celebrity friends. It will be a three person team golf event at Rayburn Country and everyone is invited to come watch the event and cheer your favorite celebrities for this worthwhile event.

For more information on C.A.S.T. events please visit their website at www.castforkids.org.


The kids had a lot of fun with the clown and balloon animals he made for them

TP&W brought lots of hungry catfish for the kids to catch
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

No matter how old or what physical ability, there was a horse saddled up and ready to ride for every kid

The ventriloquist show had everyone clapping

Micky Shillings of Just Archery helped each child shoot a target

Back to Lakecaster Online contents