MOSES LAKE — Special needs children and their families got a chance to go fishing, sometimes for the first time, on Saturday with the help of volunteers and a local bass club. The “Cast for Kids” event returned after a two-year absence.
Cast for Kids 2019 was on Moses Lake, rather than the usual spot at Potholes Reservoir. Volunteers from the Potholes Bass Club brought boats and fishing expertise.
Cast for Kids has been going for 28 years, starting at the Potholes, said Ashley Brendle, event coordinator. It’s grown to a nationwide event.
“We just take the whole family fishing,” said bass club president Tom Twede. The kids, parents or guardians, brothers and sisters – everybody goes fishing for the morning, even if it takes more than one boat. Lunch is served after the boats come back in, catered by culinary students from the Columbia Basin Job Corps.
Some kids have physical disabilities, others must deal with disabilities like autism or ADHD. “These kids daily face a lot of challenges,” Brindle said, and a morning on the water gives them a chance to just have some fun. Some can’t do sports or other recreational activities, and Cast for Kids introduces them to something that may be new to them, she said.
Twede is a Cast for Kids veteran, and it’s a pretty rewarding morning, he said. “I’ve been a captain 11 times. It’s the joy (the children) get,” whether they catch a fish or not.
Some of the kids are a little scared of the boat and the water, but usually that changes before they get back to shore, he said. One of his passengers didn’t like going fast – at least not at first. But by the time the boat headed back to shore the boy was ready to crank up the engine, Twede said. “He sat in that seat and his eyes were that big around.”
Job Corps culinary instructor Theresa Clement said she has been catering lunch for Cast for Kids for 21 years. The children make it a lot of fun, she said.
“The smiles on their faces when they bring in the fish – it’s kind of a joyful thing,” she said. Some kids come back every year. “Being able to see the kids every year, and they recognize you, is just a joy.”
The bass club got help from local businesses too. A local sign company, Signs Now, made the event banner with about 24 hours’ notice.
The 2017 event was canceled due to smoke from rampant wildfires, and the sponsoring agency lost funding in 2018, Twede said. So club members decided “they weren’t going to let this die,” he said.
In Moses Lake, Cast for Kids traditionally was in August, but was moved to June to avoid problems like wildfire smoke, Twede said. Cast for Kids 2020 tentatively is scheduled for June, with the date to be announced.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.