Volunteers Needed For Sick Kids Derby
Seventy-five boat-owning volunteers are needed July 16 to help take a group of children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses fishing on Lake Texoma.
The of children are campers at Camp Cavett, a weeklong camp that offers outdoor experiences to children who are undergoing treatments for illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, sickle cell anemia and other childhood illnesses. Each year, part of the week's festivities includes a fishing trip in which anglers and boaters from across Oklahoma, Texas and even Louisiana volunteer their time and their boats to spend time fishing with the campers.
"Some of these kids have had a tough time over the last few years, but they're just like any other kids - they love to go fishing and take a boat ride," said Gene Gilliland, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Gilliland volunteers each year and said some of the campers do not get to fish at home, either because their conditions will not allow them to fish easily or because they are in the hospital too much to find time. Getting the opportunity to go through Camp Cavett gets them involved in the outdoors, giving them something to look forward to and broadening their appreciation for the natural world.
"Both the volunteers and kids have a great time. It is something we all look forward to," Gilliland said.
The July 16 fishing event is a "fish-for-anything" derby, with prizes for campers who catch the largest black bass, panfish, catfish, striped bass or rough fish. A free cookout is provided for all participants and volunteers following the day's outing on the lake.
Boaters and anglers interested in participating can register as volunteers online at cavettkidsfoundation.org/node/52. Volunteers must arrive at Lake Texoma's Catfish Bay by 6 a.m. and sign in with camp staff. Each boat will be assigned up to three campers and a counselor, depending on boat capacity. Tackle, bait and life jackets for campers are provided, though boaters are encouraged to bring additional life jackets if they have them in sizes adult small or adult medium.
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