“Felt included with people who have the same abilities. Was not afraid to attempt a new sport or activity” –Participant, 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)
See More About This Event!
For more event photos (from several years of past events) see Les Cummings SmugMug page
Read About Past Events
2017 Event Recap
The 16th annual Lake Thunderbird CAST for Kids event was held on Saturday September 9, 2017. On the previous day the large 30’x50’ 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 were set up. The weather was perfect on Saturday morning as final preparations were being made. At 6am 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 7am and by 8:30 we had 19 boats lined up at the dock and shore ready to take some 29 special children out for a morning fishing trip.
The children along with parents and caregivers began to arrive around 8am and were given their gifts of new Lews rod and reels, tackle from Academy Sports and Outdoors and Cabela’s, hats and CAST for Kids T-shirts. By 8:30 all were registered and the US BOR gave final instructions to the fishing guides and crew.
At 9am 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 BOR volunteers help load each boat and take a photo of the child with their captain as they proceed to head out on the lake.
As the boats head out, the cooking crew, under the able leadership of Lake Thunderbird Educational Foundation President, Executive Chef Roger Elliott and his sous chefs, Camisa Stewart Cummings and Cheri Elliott had already fired up the grill and food prep had started in the Boat House kitchen with lots of help from Lady Elks and Thunderbird Sailing Club ladies. The menu for the luncheon included, hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, watermelon/grapes and cantaloupe salad, baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, tomatoes, lettuce and deserts including ice cream and cookies. We thank Homeland Foods, Edmond Elks Lodge, Sysco Foods and Country Corner Store for donating the delicious food this year.
By noon all the boats had returned with their happy children, many had caught several nice fish. The luncheon was served to the approximate 127 people in attendance by members of the Thunderbird Sailing Club and Edmond Elks Lodge. Once served, Les Cummings, Local CAST 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. Dan DuBray, BOR Acting Deputy Commissioner who flew in from Washington to attend the event. Then Mark Trevino, US BOR Area Manager, welcomed everyone on behalf of the US BOR. Les also introduced several members of the Edmond Elks Lodge who had funded a $4,000 grant this year to CAST for Kids! Les then presented Thunderbird State Park manager, Susie Snider with the official 2017 CAST for Kids poster and then introduced the emcee for the day, Mr. Greg Snider, Assistant Operations Director of Oklahoma State Parks.
Greg introduced Mr. Jim Behnken, Western Regional Director CAST for Kids, who gave some background on CAST for Kids and how pleased he was to attend such a well-organized event. Greg and Jim then proceeded to call up each child and their fishing guide and presented them with a plaque with their 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 each child was given the choice of some 40 gifts that were laid out on tables. Gifts included folding chairs, radios, walkie-talkies, backpacks, binoculars earphones and watches.
After all were introduced, Greg asked everyone to meet in front of the Lake Thunderbird Boat House 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 Boat House and were heading home by 2PM. Another great CAST for Kids event had been successfully completed and work now begins for the 2018 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, Oklahoma Lake Patrol, Edmond Elks Lodge, ENF Homeland Stores, Academy Sports + Outdoors, BMI Systems, A & B Rent-All, Alameda Market, Blue Heron Communications, Canadian Valley Bait, Country Corner Store, Crest Foods, 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, Flambeau, Lews, 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