Fishing for Smiles

Children with special needs experience the thrill of “fish on” thanks to TVA and the CAST for Kids Foundation.

MAY 11, 2018—TVA and the Catch a Special Thrill (CAST) for Kids Foundation joined recently for the second year in a row to sponsor a day of boating and fishing for children with special needs. The April 21 event drew more TVA employees and more boats this year, and promises to keep growing.

“Personally, it meant a lot to me for my son Logan to get to go out on a boat and fish and have a great time just being a kid,” says Stephanie Cardwell, TVA Human Resources information rep. “Because of his cerebral palsy, he can’t physically do a lot of things that other kids can. This gave him the perfect opportunity to just be a regular kid and do something fun without being restricted by his physical limitations. And for that, I am very grateful to all the volunteers and sponsors that made this experience possible for him.”

TVA’s Natural Resources sponsors the event and helps coordinate volunteers. This year, it was held at Safe Marina Harbor at Concord Park in Knoxville, with 40 volunteers and several college and regional bass anglers helping the kids. CAST for Kids is the largest fishing charity in the country. It provides one-day events like this so that children with a wide range of special needs can share fun on the water that they might not otherwise get to experience.

Volunteers are essential to making the event happen.

 “The second CAST for Kids for me was as much fun as the first,” says Warren Behlau, TVA Power Operations. “My son and I traveled over 100 miles each way to help this year and it was worth it. The kids that participate in this event get a chance to do something out of their norm and love it. The big reward is seeing them get as fired up about fishing as I am.”

“It was fun teaching and helping our CAST guests,” adds Garrett Behlau, Warren’s son. “I’ve had a blast fishing since I was little and hope they have as much fun as I have fishing.”

“The rest of the team and myself really enjoyed the opportunity to help,” says Cory Hensley, an angler with the University of Tennessee fishing club. “It was awesome to see all the kids having fun with their friends and family and experience a day on the water. I know that we got just as much out of it as they did, and we look forward to next year.”