Jim Noah   

Do you want to really make a kid feel special?  Do you really want to feel special?  Take them fishing and actually catch a fish!  Want to make a terminally ill or handicapped kid really feel special and in some case have a reason to live for? C.A.S.T. (Create A Special Thrill) started by Jim Owens of Renton Washington makes this happen all the time!

C.A.S.T. needs your help, but you will be the one feeling like a WINNER!  C.A.S.T. events pair experienced anglers with disabled children for a day of FUN, Fishing, Food, and learning.  The anglers are called “Captains” and they get to work with children to teach them about casting, tying knots, baiting hooks, and other angling skills.  Captains also work with the parents so they can repeat the fishing experience.  These are skills the family can use for a lifetime.  

A typical C.A.S.T. event starts around 7:30 in the morning with the volunteers arriving to set up registration, rig rods and reels, fill tackle boxes, set out life jackets, etc.  The kids and their parents start arriving about 8:30 and by 9:00 are loaded into boats to go fishing for 2 to 2 ½ hours.  Many of these kids have never been on a boat or had a chance to fish.  Captains are providing a special thrill!

Everyone is treated to a big welcome when they return from fishing, by the volunteers that have been busy on the bank.  You had better believe these kids have fishing stories to tell including the big ones that got away.  Everyone is treated to an all-you-can-eat barbecue sponsored by an local organization.  The kids are all presented an engraved plaque with a photo of the child and the Captain.  All the volunteers receive Thank You certificates too.  The kids also receive rods and reels, tackle boxes, C.A.S.T. t-shirts and hats, and goody bags filled with outdoor active books, conservation/wildlife books, and other educational material to keep.

Jim started C.A.S.T. in 1991 with one event and now has grown to over 25 events in 2000.  30 states are now holding C.A.S.T events with the numbers growing every year.  Once you participate as a Captain you are hooked to come back and do more.  Just ask the Nevada Striper Club Boater that said “I live 1,000 miles from the area.  I drove my boat 1,000 miles to be part of this event, and if you had another one scheduled next weekend, by golly, I’d drive my boat the 1,000 miles just to be part of it!”

As with any major undertaking, it requires money and sponsors.  I applaud the Corporate Sponsors Triton Boats, Zebco Corporation, and Plano Molding Company.  C.A.S.T. could not survive without their great support.  Many local sponsors also provide support that has to come from the community like awnings, tables, chairs, cooking grills, Polaroid cameras, to sun block.  Things we take for granted because we use them every day, but C.A.S.T. caters to families that have not enjoyed the outdoors.  Many of these families time together has been spent at the hospital.

C.A.S.T. requires cash too!  You can help by joining C.A.S.T. with full details on their web site www.castforkids.org.  They also have items for sale at their site including shirts and hats.  You can help even more if you shop for your daily needs at their web site.  Over 80 of your favorite on-line retailers are donating part of your purchase to C.A.S.T.  You buy the items you would anyway and C.A.S.T. benefits from 5% to 15% of the purchase price.  Amazon.com, OfficeMax.com and eToys all are supporting this wonderful cause and you can to without it costing you a dime. 

Pro Bass Angler Jay Yelas says “I whole heartedly support C.A.S.T. for the kids.  They are in the business of putting smiles on the faces of underprivileged youths all across American.  At C.A.S.T. events, the kids feel loved and they are introduced to a sport they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.  What a great concept!”  Jay is 110% right!

  Want to be part of C.A.S.T.  or help with an event?  Contact Jim Owens at (425) 251-314 or email [email protected].  You will be the winner.

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