Reflecting back on 2016, I recollect so many fond memories. The special moments were numerous this past season. Picking just one favorite from this season was not an easy task for me!
Pondering back, I have chosen a moment from a Bureau of Reclamation event held in Burley, Idaho. From 2002 to 2015, this event was held on Lake Walcott, however, the fish catching results the past several years were virtually nonexistent. In fact, in 2014 and 2015 combined, only one single fish was caught during the event by the children! The 2016 committee members decided it was time to make a change to allow the children to possibly capture more fish during the event.
The Snake River in Burley, Idaho was chosen as the 2016 locale. Specifically, the Burley Golf Course boat dock area. Upon arriving at the location the day prior to the event, I could not have pictured a more perfect location to hold a C.A.S.T. for Kids event. Beautifully manicured landscape, a great picnic area, and boat docks that made loading children with wheelchairs extremely easy. This was all wonderful, but I wondered if the change in location would allow the children to catch more fish the following morning.
My fears on Saturday morning were quickly erased. Not more than 15 minutes after the boats left the dock, the two way radio chatter allowed all of us setting up for the lunch to hear the excitement of the reports of fish being caught. One young lady had attended the two previous years and never even gotten a bite. This year she caught a beautiful smallmouth bass. Her first fish of her lifetime. It was amazing!
As we were wrapping up, just when I thought the day could not possibly get any better, I received a note from a young girl of maybe seven years of age. This small Post-it note just about brought me to tears. Absolutely as special a moment as I have had in my life. I hope this young lady or her parents see this newsletter and realize how important this note is to me. To the mystery girl, whoever you are, I will keep this note forever. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and every one of you in the C.A.S.T. Family.
– Jim Behnken, Western Regional Director