“It is fun to be a volunteer at C.A.S.T. for Kids” – Shore Volunteer, Lake Thunderbird
This is a C.A.S.T. for Kids event designed to provide children with disabilities, ages 5 – 17, the opportunity to enjoy a quality outdoor recreational experience through the sport of fishing. Take to the water with C.A.S.T. for an unforgettable morning of fishing and boating!
Event LocationLake Thunderbird
Norman, Oklahoma (map)
Park Ranger, Lake Thunderbird State Park
See More About This Event!
For more event photos (from several years of past events) see Les Cummings SmugMug page
Read About Past Events
2016 Event Report:
The 15th annual Lake Thunderbird C.A.S.T. for Kids event was held on Saturday, September 24, 2016. On the previous day, the large 30’ x 50’ tent (funded by Edmond Elks Lodge, Miles Associates, and BMI/ImageNet) was erected, chairs and tables delivered, food and drinks delivered, and goody bags, gifts and prizes organized. The weather forecast all the previous week was for rain and storms, but again the weather was perfect on Saturday morning as final preparations were being made. At 6 a.m., at the Lake Thunderbird BoatHouse, coffee, donuts, bananas, apples, oranges, milk, orange juice, water, coffee, and yogurt were ready for the continental breakfast to serve the kids, boat captains, crew, and volunteers.
Registration tables were set up outside the BoatHouse, and the boat captains started to register around 7. By 8:30 we had over 20 boats lined up at the dock and shore ready to take some 30 special children out for a morning fishing trip.
The children, along with parents and caregivers, began to arrive around 8 a.m., and were given their gifts of new Zebco rod and reels, tackle from Academy Sports and Outdoors and Cabelas, hats and C.A.S.T. for Kids T-shirts. By 8:30 a.m. all were registered and the US BOR gave final instructions to the fishing guides and crew.
At 9 a.m., the children were partnered with their fishing guide and crew for their morning fishing trip. It is always fun to watch this as some of the children meet their same captain they have had at previous events and the smiles and laughter helps brighten an already beautiful morning. Once the guides and children are matched up they proceed to the dock where a great group of volunteers help load each boat, take a photo of the child with their captain and then proceed to head out on the lake.
At this time the cooking crew, under the able leadership of Lake Thunderbird Educational Foundation President, Chef Roger Elliott and his sous chefs, Camisa Stewart Cummings, Allie Funderburgh and Barbara Schindler had already fired up the grill and food prep had started in the BoatHouse kitchen. The menu for the luncheon included, hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, green salad, watermelon/grapes and cantaloupe, salad, baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, tomatoes, lettuce, and deserts including ice cream and cookies. We thank Homeland Foods for donating the majority of the food for the event along with Sysco Foods and Country Corner Store.
By noon, all the boats had returned with their happy children, many who had caught several nice fish. The luncheon was served to the approximate 125 people in attendance by members of the Thunderbird Sailing Club along with several Boy Scout volunteers. Once served, Les Cummings, local C.A.S.T. committee member and Executive Director of the Lake Thunderbird Educational Foundation, welcomed everyone and thanked all those who helped make this such a terrific event each year. He introduced Mr. Mark Trevino, US BOR Area Manager, who welcomed everyone on behalf of the US BOR. Les also introduced several members of the Edmond Elks Lodge who had funded a $2,500 grant this year to C.A.S.T. for Kids! Les then presented Elk member L.D. Maxwell and Thunderbird State Park manager, Susie Snider with the official 2016 C.A.S.T. for Kids posters and then introduced the MC for the day, Mr. Greg Snider, Assistant Operations Director of Oklahoma State Parks.
Greg introduced Mr. Jim Behnken, C.A.S.T. for Kids Western Regional Director, who gave some background on C.A.S.T. for Kids and how pleased he was to attend such a well organized event. Greg then proceeded to call up each child and their fishing guide and presented them with a plaque with photo and each guide was given a goody bag of items to thank them for bringing their boat (and crew) to the event and for taking the children fishing. Then the child was given the choice of some 40 gifts that were laid out on tables. Gifts included folding chairs, radios, walkie-talkies, backpacks, games, and Disney watches.
After all were introduced, Greg asked everyone to meet in front of the Lake Thunderbird BoatHouse for the annual group photo. Once this was done, everyone said goodbye along with lots of hugs and a few tears of joy. As they were leaving, the volunteers put everything away, cleaned the BoatHouse and were heading home by 2 p.m.. Another great C.A.S.T. for Kids event had been successfully completed and work now begins for the 2017 Lake Thunderbird CAST for Kids fishing derby for children with disabilities.
Thanks to our Event Sponsors
The C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, Thunderbird State Park, Lake Thunderbird Boat House, Lake, Thunderbird Educational Foundation, Thunderbird Sailing Club, Lake Thunderbird, Wednesday Night Team Tournament, Oklahoma Lake Patrol, Edmond Elks Lodge, ENF Homeland Stores, Academy Sports + Outdoors, BMI Systems, Cabelas, A & B Rent-All Alameda Market, Automatic Fire Control, Blue Heron Communications, Canadian Valley Bait, Country Corner Store, Crest Foods, H&H Marine, Hiland Dairy, Legends Restaurant, Miles Associates, Andy Rieger, Norman Transcript, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, P. F. Chang’s, Rococo Restaurants and Catering, Sam’s Clubs, Dr. Camisa Stewart Cummings, SYSCO Foods of Oklahoma, Plano, Zebco, Susie Snider – Thunderbird State Park, Jeff Tompkins – U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Ashley Dixson – U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Les Cummings – Lake Thunderbird Educational Foundation