Special kids need help from boat owners

Volunteers are sought to take developmentally disabled children out on Hyatt Lake this Saturday

ASHLAND — A Saturday fishing event on Hyatt Lake for developmentally disabled kids and their families needs a little help from the region's boating and fishing community.

Volunteer boat owners are needed to help take the participants fishing in the 16th annual CAST for Kids event set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

The event, sponsored by the Arc of Jackson County and others, operates out of the Hyatt Lake Group Campground on the lake's southern end.

CAST stands for Catch A Special Thrill and focuses on those with developmental disabilities ages 20 and younger as well as their families. Participants go out in boats for a ride on the lake and a chance to catch trout and bass.

For years, the group has had a core group of volunteers whose efforts were aided by boats donated by the Hyatt Lake Resort, says Trish Welch, ARC's executive director. The resort closed recently, leaving the CAST crowd short on vessels, she says.

The event typically hosts about 150 people, with up to half of them kids, and the resort would donate the use of two large pontoon boats and a half-dozen smaller boats, Welch says.

"The more boats we have the less waiting we have for the kids and the more opportunity they have to fish," Welch says.

The first 50 first-time CAST members will receive a free rod, reel, tackle box, T-shirt and hat.

Past participants are asked to bring their fishing gear from last year.

The Bureau of Land Management, one of several major cosponsors for the annual event, is offering some free campsites for tonight or Saturday night for some participants.

CAST participants pre-register through the ARC or Easter Seals organizations.

To volunteer yourself and your boat Saturday, call Welch today at 541-779-4520.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

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