“Our son loves the boat rides! I love watching him smile and flap his hands and sometimes he squeals with excitement! I love watching him around other people with disabilities… Sometimes families can feel so alone but not on C.A.S.T. for Kids day! We are surrounded by other families like ours and that is a breath of fresh air!” – Parent, Tenn-Tom Waterway, MS
This is a C.A.S.T. for Kids event designed to provide children with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy a quality outdoor recreational experience through the sport of fishing. Not all locations are conducive to hosting boating events. This event gives participants the opportunity to fish from shore.
Event LocationBay Springs Lake
Dennis, Mississippi (map)
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Read About Past Events
2017 Event Recap:
The 13th Annual Tenn-Tom CAST for Kids Event has held at Old Bridge Beach, on Bay Springs Lake. We had 42 participants registered for the event. The area received a lot of rainfall the week before the event, which caused the lake level to rise. Six days before the event, the water was covering the parking lot at the event site and predicted to rise another foot. Luckily, the water began to recede just in time for us to have the event as scheduled.
The event got off to a chilly start, with morning lows being in the high 30’s. Once the sun got up, it began to warm up very quickly. The participants and their families began signing in about 8:30 AM. Then they made their way down to the fishing area. We had a brief welcome and safety talk, by one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Rangers. Then everyone started fishing. The fishing started of a little slow, but several kids managed to figure them out. Several kids caught their first fish, including Pete. When Pete caught his fish, he was VERY EXCITED! He ran up and down the dock giving everyone a high five and saying “I caught one! I caught one!” All the families also got to go on a boat ride. We had two pontoons, two bass boats and a ski boat there to give everyone a tour of the lake. The boat rides are always a big hit.
We also had several other activities to keep the kids entertained. Mr. Jack Jones was there making balloon animals and doing magic tricks. Everyone LOVED him and his balloon animals. Mr. Jones is a regular at our event and he is always great with the kids. This year, he received the “Volunteer of the Year Award” for his hard work and dedication to our event. We also had a couple Conservation Biologists from the MS Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks on hand to talk about wildlife. They had several live animals, including turtles, a snake and an alligator for everyone to see.
At lunch time, everyone made their way to the pavilion where they had Subway sandwiches, pizza, hot dogs and snacks. Mike Carter was playing live music for everyone to enjoy while ate lunch. After lunch, we recognized several special sponsors and volunteers, such as, MS Dept of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks, Caring Hands Rehab, Wal-Mart of Fulton, our boat captains and Mr. Jack Jones. Then we handed out the plaques and door prizes. It was a very special day for everyone and we can’t wait to do it again next year!
2016 Event Recap:
This was the 12th Annual Tenn-Tom C.A.S.T. for Kids event. Our event was a shoreline event at Bay Springs Lake, which is part of the Tenn-Tom Waterway, located in northeast Mississippi. We had an awesome day! The weather was perfect. We had 42 children participate in the event. When the children arrived, they received their fishing equipment. While everyone was getting checked in, the kids had a few minutes to play games and get their faces painted. Thanks to the Conservation Educators from the MS Dept of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks, they also got to learn about and touch a LIVE snake and alligator! Once everyone was checked in, a Park Ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave a brief water and fishing safety talk. Then the fishing and other activities began. Several nice bluegill and catfish were caught. The biggest fish was a 5lb drum caught by Tyler Newlin. The Bay Springs Marina and several volunteers brought pontoons and a ski boat to give the families boat rides. The boat rides were one of the most popular activities of the day. The kids really enjoyed the ski boat with the big loud speakers. At noon, everyone made their way to the pavilion for the lunch and award ceremony. We had live music, by Joseph Baldwin, for everyone to enjoy while they had lunch. After lunch, we took a little time to say thank you to some of our awesome sponsors and volunteers. We presented Subway of Belmont & Iuka with a “Sponsor of the Year Award” for their dedicated support of our event. We also presented Rich Wigginton with a “Volunteer of the Year Award” for his service over the years. We have been very fortunate to have some great volunteers over the years. We even had a mother and daughter, Jackie & Kallie Kerr, that wanted to spend a special Mother’s Day weekend together. They did it by driving over five hours to come help out with our event! After the sponsors and volunteers were recognized, we handed out the plaques and door prizes to all the participants. The kids and volunteers had a blast! We can’t wait to do it again next year.
Thank you for your hard working and dedication to the program. We couldn’t do it without all of our amazing event partners.
2014 Event Recap:
The 10th Annual Tenn-Tom C.A.S.T. for Kids Event was a fishing event designed for special needs children. It was held at Bay Springs Lake, on May 3rd, 2014. We had an awesome event! We had a great turnout with 55 participants and their families in attendance. We got started at 8:30 AM checking in participants and handing out fishing equipment. Then a park ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomed everyone and gave a brief water safety talk. Then everyone spread out along the pier and shoreline in search of that big fish. Several fish were caught during the event. One of the most memorable catches was when a young man caught his very first fish. As soon as the fish was landed, he started running around with his hands held up saying…”I CAUGHT A FISH, I CAUGHT A FISH…THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!!”
We also had a couple pontoons and a couple bass boats there to give rides. Several of the kids said that the boat rides were the best part of the event. Many of them had never been on a boat before. They got a grand tour of the lake and most of them got to see some Bald Eagles. One young man said that the bass boat ride was 1000 times fun.
We also had other activities, such as, a casting station, balloon animals, washer pitching and face painting. Country music singer, Joseph Baldwin, performed for us during lunch. He is a very talented singer and did an outstanding job. He played a great mix of old and new country songs. We even had a few people get up and dance.
After lunch was served, we had the awards ceremony. Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks and the Bay Springs Marina both received a “Special Recognition Award” for their dedicated service to the event. Then we handed out the participant plaques and let everyone pick out a door prize. Then a conservation biologist gave a wildlife talk and even let everyone touch a live alligator.
We had a great event and everyone is already planning and looking forward to next year!
2014 Comments from Parents:
“The boys love being outside and involved w/ other children. There are so many things that can be accomplished other than just physical achievements w/these events.”
“We had an amazing time. I was so happy to be able to have my son participate in something so meaningful. I look forward to the opportunity to do it again.”
“On the bass boat John Caleb said that it was 1000 times fun! We love the live music. We dance a lot at home. It was fun dancing with my kiddo… Yes we danced like no one was watching.. Even though there were a few. Keep up the great work! Our family looks forward to this every year now. This was our 4th year to participate. It just gets better and better! May The Lord bless y’all and keep y’all and make His face to shine upon y’all!”
Thanks to our Event Sponsors
Caring Hands Rehab, Bay Springs Marina, Lonnie’s Sporting Goods, US Army Corps of Engineers, LiFe, Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Subway of Belmont, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart, Community Spirit Bank, S and H Outdoors, Cademy Contracting, Belmont Bass Anglers, Hammer Fishing Rods, Clay’s Bait and Tackle, Fishers Family Restaurant, Bridge the Gap, Bigun’s Pro Guide Service, Dr. Robert Yarber, W.H. Fairless Hardware, Lisa A. Koon Attorney, Senter Funeral Home, Credille-Brock Insurance Agency Inc., Dossett Big 4 Inc., Davis Ford Sales Inc. , Tony’s Acoustical, North MS Private Land Management, The Fish Market, Crow’s Sporting Goods, Tishimongo Grain, Refreshments of Tupelo, Allen Jones, Vig Star of Belmont, Academy Sporting Goods, Lews, Flambeau