Our mission is to provide special needs populations the opportunity
to enjoy a quality outdoor recreational experience fishing on the water.
The C.A.S.T. for Kids Program is designed to create an environment whereby special needs children and their caretakers could benefit, leaving their problems on shore and sharing a day of fun on the water that they may not otherwise get to experience. The charity furthers its mission by increasing awareness of disabled and disadvantaged children in communities and teaching appreciation for natural resources. This is all made possible through the cooperation of government agencies, national and local sponsors, and local interest groups, and creates a rare and positive experience for America’s youth.
In 1996, the Fishing Kids Program was developed to introduce and engage urban youth in the sport of fishing. The Fishing Kids Program is built around the slogan, “Getting more kids fishing, more often,” and is designed to create and provide more fishing opportunities for urban youth.
Established in 2011, the Take A Warrior Fishing Program is designed to support military personnel and their families, specifically targeting persons assigned to Warrior Transition Commands, by creating an adaptive community-based outdoor recreation experience through the sport of fishing. The main goals of this program are to restore that disconnect by increasing family interaction, encouraging outdoor recreation, and supporting positive, social interactions that help transitioning service members rebuild connections with the civilian world.
Financials & Annual Report
Board of Directors
A committed Board of Directors, representing numerous interests, supports the continuance of our mission and governs the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation.
President, Eat Oregon First
GMS Architural Group, AIA
CIO, Vaughn Melton Engineering
Fidelity National Title
Law Office of Baker Firm
Ft. Worth, TX
Former President, Ranger Boats
Owner, Yamamoto Custom Baits
P.O. Box 317
Lincoln City, OR 97367
After serving the CAST for Kids Foundation for 10 years on the Board of Directors, Jay Yelas took over as Executive Director in 2015. “My passion for people and for sharing the great sport of fishing with others, especially with children, is why I love C.A.S.T. for Kids. Amazing things happen at our events when so many good-hearted people volunteer to pour their love out on these children.”
Yelas is a familiar name on the professional bass fishing tour. His notable accomplishments include winning the 2002 Bassmaster Classic, the 2003 B.A.S.S Angler of the Year and the 2002 and 2007 FLW Angler of the Year. Additionally, Yelas won a 2003 ESPN ESPY award in the Best Outdoor Athlete category.
Jay has been married to Jill for 25 years, and their two daughters Hannah and Bethany are both college students.
Operations Manager & Northwestern Regional Director
297 SW 41st Street
Renton, WA 98057
Jessica joined the foundation staff in September 2012 after 3 years as a foundation volunteer and 20+ years volunteering at C.A.S.T. and Fishing Kids events. Jessica volunteers in Collections for the Renton History Museum, as well as time spent scrapbooking, reading, and in the outdoors with her husband, Jeff, and their two young children, Tyler & Elizabeth.
“One of my favorite parts of this organization is the dedication of the volunteers in making each event a special day for the families. We get to give an experience to kids that is exhilarating and memorable, yet the kids’ experience is actually a small part of what is gained from the event – the parents, volunteers, organizers – all each gain their own rewards. In all, our events are a unique and awesome experience, and I am grateful to be part of it.”
Western Regional Director
382 Shangrila Lane
New Braunfels, TX 78130
Jim Behnken has been involved with the foundation since 2001, first as a volunteer boater, and since 2004 the coordinator for the Lake Calaveras event. Behnken owned his own business in San Antonio for 25 years and has worked 6 years as a bass guide on Falcon Lake, as well as Sugar Lake, and Las Blancas Lakes in Mexico. Behnken, who is a widower, has two daughters, Julie and Jessica, both grown and out in the working world now.
Behnken says that “Working with special needs children and helping veterans, is a dream come true opportunity for me. I love working with not only the children and military personnel, but also the wonderful coordinators who dedicate their time to doing something amazing for these children and warriors. I look forward to helping our C.A.S.T. team put many more smiles on the faces of deserving individuals.”
Eastern Regional Director
25 Derrick Circle
Albertville, AL 35951
Jeff lives in Albertville, Alabama and has been the Eastern Regional Director for the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation since 2015. A lifelong fisherman, Jeff really enjoys sharing and helping special needs children as well as active duty and veteran warriors how fun a day of boating and fishing can be. “It’s great to see the volunteer’s reaction when the kids get excited. These events truly touch everyone involved”. Jeff looks forward to helping others put on these great events all across the country.
Jeff has been married 20 years (Kelly) and has a daughter (Lauren) age 12. “I encourage everyone to volunteer at an event or better yet help start your own event, there are plenty of special kids and special warriors who would love to experience the thrill of catching a fish”.
Western Field Representatives
Cameron Park, CA
Jan 2015 – The C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation announces the addition of a new staff member, Todd Stanley of Windsor, CA. Todd will serve as a C.A.S.T. Western Field Representative, attending several events in California and other Western States. Todd has attended several C.A.S.T. for Kids events over the last couple of years as a Volunteer Boat Captain, and has a real passion for helping the kids. “I am honored to be a part of C.A.S.T.”, said Todd, “and look forward to helping C.A.S.T. serve children for many years to come.” Todd works in the insurance business, and enjoys the outdoors, family and friends and visiting Yosemite National Park each year. Welcome to the family Todd!
Brenda has been involved with the C.A.S.T. for Kids program as a volunteer for the past ten years. She started by helping stuff the goodie bags and the preparation on the day before the event at Lake Pleasant. Then in 2011, she needed to step up and run the registration at the event due to an emergency with the coordinator. After attending the event, she was hooked and advanced to being the co-coordinator for the last five years. Her own family has been touched with Autism and ADHD, so the C.A.S.T for Kids event was natural for them to appreciate. The event has become a family affair for them each year and they never stop being in awe of the generosity of the boat captains and the numerous volunteers.
Brenda hopes to retire in a few years to have more time to represent the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation and continue to see those big smiles. She has enjoyed watching the interaction between the kids and the boat captains each year and still hasn’t decided which one is more excited. They form a special bond that’s hard to beat. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the C.A.S.T. for Kids family and look forward to attending the events and meeting lots of special kids, their families and all of the generous volunteers that make it all happen.”
History In Brief
1992 – First C.A.S.T. event held at Banks Lake in Eastern Washington in partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation.
1993 – Events were added in Eastern and Western Washington, and Idaho.
1994 – C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation established as a 501(c)3.
1996 – Bureau of Land Management becomes a partner with C.A.S.T. for Kids. Fishing Kids Program is established.
1998 – U.S. Army Corp of Engineers becomes a partner. Fishing Kids Events receive sponsorship from Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
1999 – Number of events hits 25 ranging from Washington to Florida. C.A.S.T. opens the corporate office in Renton, Washington.
2002 – C.A.S.T. hosts 32 events in 18 states. Professional Anglers Association becomes a partner.
2003 – C.A.S.T. hosts 35 fishing events in 20 states. C.A.S.T. is accepted as a National Combined Fund Drive member through Children’s Charities of America.
2005 – C.A.S.T hosts 37 events. California Departments of Water Resources, Fish & Game, Parks & Recreation, and Boating & Waterways become newest official partners.
2008 – C.A.S.T. hosts 53 events in 23 states, adding new events in Washington D.C. & Pennsylvania.
The Foundation receives grant support from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation. C.A.S.T. partners with University of Washington Sociology Department to establish a comprehensive program evaluation.
2009 –C.A.S.T. hosts 54 events in 22 states, adding events in New York and Wisconsin. The Foundation hosts events in conjunction with the FLW Tournament Series and the Professional Anglers Association.
2011 – C.A.S.T. launches the Take a Warrior Fishing program, hosting its first event at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.
2015 – Jim Owens, Founder, and Executive Director Retires after 24 years. Jay Yelas named new Executive Director.