“C.A.S.T. for Kids” (Catch a Special Thrill), is celebrating its 20th anniversary July 16, 2011, at the Walcott State Park, giving children with disabilities and their families an opportunity to “Leave their troubles behind.” A day devoted to fishing in the waters of southern Idaho’s Snake River, children can either experience the great outdoors fishing by boat or on shore.

Photo © Jason Lugo

Trishtan Garcia gets to hold a big bass that she caught.

Sponsored by the National Bureau of Reclamation, the program allows children to fish in groups on shore for up to 60 minutes while receiving instructions from experienced fisherman on fishing techniques and environmental stewardship before going out on the water.  Parents and caregivers are encouraged to participate with their children. Prior to each session groups receives a tutorial on water safety.

“For some kids, this is their first experience fishing,” says Sarah Wageman, local director of C.A.S.T. for Kids in the Rupert-Burley area.  “We’ve received so many sweet letters and cards from children who have participated in the past. They are grateful along with their families for the opportunity to get out.”

Photo © Jason Lugo

The beautiful Lake Walcott State Park sets the scene for a great day of fishing.

Wageman remembers when there were only 10 to 15 participants 8 years ago. Now there are nearly 35 children and their families that enjoy the opportunity to fish. She would like to see 40 to 45 children experience the great outdoors this year, letting them feel what it’s like to ride in a boat with the wind in their hair. “The smiles are the best part,” Wageman says.

C.A.S.T. supplies each child with a fishing rod and reel, t-shirt, hat and tackle box. Along with their caretaker, they are partnered with an experienced volunteer guide and escorted on a motorized boat. They are shown the proper techniques of fishing and educated on natural resources.

Photo © Jason Lugo

Codie Hall gives out C.A.S.T. event T-shirts.

After returning from their morning fishing excursion, a BBQ lunch is provided, along with an awards ceremony. The event also includes an archeological dig, face painting, a bounce house, fish jeopardy and a nature hike.

Registration starts at 9 a.m., July 16, at Walcott State Park. Fees are $6 to $10 per child.

In order to make this special event possible, local organizations and individuals donate their time and boats.  To register a child, or to donate, contact:  Sarah Wageman at 208-678-0461 ex. 48 or John Redding at 208-378-5212. Or visit http://www.castforkids.org/