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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Child Day Care, Children & Youth, Philanthropy, Public Foundations, Recreation & Sports, Sports

Mission: The C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation believes every child is worth celebrating, can overcome limitations and have a victorious day. Through a joyful day of fishing, kids, their families and community volunteers come together for an explosion of fun and inspiration. We host annual fishing and boating events across America.

Geographic areas served: National

Programs: C. A. S. T. For kids - these events are held nationally for children with special needs and disadvantages and are partially sponsored by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. Participation ranges between 30 and 250 participants. Approximately sixty-five events are held annually with about 3,000 participants.

Fishing Kids - there are two fishing kids events held each year in Washington state. The Renton event had 400 participants and the Bremerton event hosts 300 participants.

Take a Warrior Fishing events: conduct fishing events for active military, targeting wounded soldiers.

Community Stories

43 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Beckley15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love seeing the pictures and videos of the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation events. I’ve had the opportunity to attend their annual event the last two years in Elkton, Oregon on the Umpqua River. The location is picturesque and the kids have a ton of fun catching numerous small mouth bass.

My fondest memory thus far was watching numerous boats floating silently down the river and hearing the voice of one of the children proclaiming for all to hear “BEST DAY EVERRR!”. Hearing this child’s pure joy was a wonderful example of what C.A.S.T. for Kids does for children, families, and all who are involved.

I just wanted to publically say “Thank you C.A.S.T. for not only touching and impacting numerous kids and their families across the country, but also those who are fortunate to volunteer and witness such pure happiness.”

Previous Stories
2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is my opportunity to share with you my brother, Jeff Barnes, who is the C.A.S.T. for Kids’ Eastern Regional Director. I may be a bit bias, but this is a heartfelt review nonetheless. My brother has fished as long as I can remember. He has often said that he wished all young children could be introduced to fishing. When he became a father, his priorities of course changed, but his love for fishing remained, as his love for family grew tenfold. Now, to combine that love of fishing and to bring joy to children and their families, as well as support military personnel, is simply a win/win for ALL. The joy that I’ve seen and heard through numerous photos, videos and shared stories speaks volumes about C.A.S.T. For my brother to be able to put a fishing rod in the hands of someone who may not otherwise have the opportunity, is simply a blessing. You won't want to miss being a part of this amazing opportunity, whether it's as a participant or a volunteer!

Lori181

Client Served

Rating: 5

C.A.S.T. for kids is one of the best days of the year for me as a parent and as a co-captain for other children with special needs. My son has significant developmental delays and he loves being out on the water with his own captain. I never worry because I know he is being treated with care and compassion. Every aspect of the event is top-notch- from the volunteers, plaques, gifts, food, presentation of awards, etc. For anyone who has not experienced C.A.S.T, you are missing out!

Previous Stories
3

Client Served

Rating: 5

C.A.S.T. for kids is an event that my family looks forward to every year. We have experienced it on both sides – and boaters and as participants. The joy on the faces of the children as they feel the wind in their hair or catch a fish is something that is not forgotten. For many of these children, it is their only time each year to be able to fish. The event is so well organized and each child walks away with lots of goodies (rod/reel, full tackle box, shirt, etc). As parents of a child with special needs, we appreciate the opportunity to join other families and just enjoy watching our kids have fun! Brent and Lori Skidmore

Alycia P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I live in SW Florida and are both passionate about fishing and being in the outdoors. We wanted to find a way to share our passion for fishing with kids in our community and a simple Google search led us to CAST for Kids Foundation. Their long-standing credibility and track record of amazing events made us feel safe choosing this organization.

We spoke with the Eastern Regional Director who was super passionate about the cause and got us excited about hosting an event of our own! We loved that we could plan and coordinate our event however we wanted but had the support of the organization every step of the way. We raise the funds and they send us SO MUCH to make it a high-quality event (tackle boxes and rods for the kids, plaques, event t-shirts, etc.).

We've now hosted 2 CAST for Kids events and we don't plan on stopping! The kids in our community love this event and look forward to it all year. For many of them, it's the only time they get to fish or be on a boat. The captains and the volunteers come back every year and love creating a special day for so many deserving children.

Highly recommend CAST for Kids Foundation! They are a stellar organization who truly believes that every child is capable of greatness!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CAST for kids makes a difference! Parents have the opportunity to take their kids with disabilities fishing when otherwise it would be very challenging. Cast makes it easy and fun and for a while that child doesn't have a disability. It's a freeing experience for most of the children and their parents. There is a smile on every single person's face at the CAST for Kids events. That's what it is about... smiling and having fun!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a part of The C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation for roughly 12 years. C.A.S.T. aims to help children with disabilities be able to go out on the lake for a day and go fishing. My father, Jim Behnken, started as just a volunteer when I was a young child and eventually started organizing an event each year himself. I have been completely honored and humbled by the ability to be a small part of such a wonderful organization. I have watched the faces of young and old change from stressed and overwhelmed to completely blissful. I cannot fully describe the look on not only the child's face, but the parents, the helpers and the volunteers as they watch a child who, in some cases, can barely function be able to catch a fish. There are no words that can honestly match that experience. It seems such a small thing, just to go out and help some kids catch some fish, but what you don't realize is how far that small act can affect a child and his/her family. For example, one of my favorite moments was watching a young boy bound to his wheelchair catch his very first fish, ever! I think I could see every single one of his teeth and his whole body rocked with pure excitement. His mom had tears in her eyes and all the challenges that accompany raising a young boy in a wheelchair dissipated. That one day on the lake changes lives. It changes the lives of the children, the volunteers, and the parents of those children. That one day reminds us all how precious life is even on our most difficult days. I've watched my dad over the years find his true passion in this organization and put his every effort into helping these children. I am proud to be a volunteer for this foundation and I am elated to be able to let others know how much C.A.S.T. has changed my life too. On my very worst days I can think of the smiles that I, in a small way, helped put on that family's face out on the lake that day.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I watch members of my family return from attending and volunteering at CAST for kids events. The joy and stories they tell bring joy to this old woman. Great foundation who truly care about the children with special needs who attend the events.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been to many events over the years, and seeing the joy this foundation brings to the children is not only rewarding for them, but for myself. I will always be a part of this great organization. Looking forward to seeing it grow and touch many more lives like it has mine.

Donor

Rating: 5

The people who work for C.A.S.T. are personable and kind and have a heart to love on every single kid and their families. It is a blessing to be a small part in helping them reach more children who, like all of us, need to be reminded they are special because they are who they are.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a first-time participant as a co-captain at the recent CAST for Kids event at Hagg Lake, OR it was inspiring for me to see all the smiles on the kids faces. We loaded up the kids in our boat for a great day of fishing and laughter. One of the boys was nearly blind but could see the light reflecting on the water and also touched the fish and smelled the fish using his other senses. After he slayed his first fish, I noticed a big difference in his mood. He began to smile and move his head back and forth. He was getting what we like to call “fish fever” every time we caught another trout.
His brother and sister also had a blast and were able to use the Cadence fishing poles themselves which gave them a new found confidence. Their mom even got in on the action and bonked the trout before putting them in the cooler. All-in-all, it was an absolutely amazing day on the water. I was thrilled to be a part of it, and would highly recommend it to others to get involved. We even ended the boat ride on a high note with what we like to call the “Haag Lake Bath”, spraying the kids and their mom with water which everyone loved. Although I think I got the brunt end of it which the kids thought was funny, haha. After we unloaded everyone, their mom gave my dad, the boat captain, and I a big hug. She said this was the best event ever and they will be participating in it next year and will look for our boat, which was a true testament to the power and impact of the C.A.S.T. for Kids events.
I would encourage you and your friends to get involved in upcoming events by volunteering or donating as it has a tremendous impact on a child’s life. www.castforkids.org

At C.A.S.T. for Kids, we believe in empowering all kids to catch a special thrill by taking them on a fun-filled day of fishing, celebrating them as loved and valuable, and encouraging them to believe anything is possible. Our program has been proven to enrich the lives of children with special needs by hosting events that prove children with disabilities can accomplish anything! Our events allow them to enjoy a unique fishing and boating event, one where they can leave their cares on shore and feel “normal” for a day. The events have many lasting benefits. The kids feel genuinely loved, valued and accepted by their community, and are celebrated as winners at our awards ceremony. We’ve seen tremendous positive improvements in growing their social skills and overcoming behavioral issues through their interactions at events with community volunteers and children of similar disabilities. Encouraging the kids with a team-oriented approach, the CAST for Kids Foundation has enhanced the lives of over 120,000 kids over the last 3 decades.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've known Jim Behnken, the West Coast Director, for over 20 years and it has been a joy to volunteer at these events. Watching these kids catch fish, for many it's the first time they've fished much less catch a fish, and seeing their joy is very rewarding.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can say I have volunteered with this charity at my local event for several years. The kids get so excited about fishing and love the plaque they get with their picture! The community joins in and it has been fulfilling to me as a volunteer. God makes us all different from one another but this non profit gives these kids a chance to do something they can’t do like everyone else. It is all about and for the kids. They are awesome!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Awesome experiences for not only the participants but also for the volunteers! So wonderful to see the kids happy! Top notch events!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at the Tyler, Texas C.A.S.T. event for the past two years! At both events I was struck with the JOY each child showed as each received his/her pole, tackle box, cap, and shirt , as each was introduced to his/her boater, having Chick Fil lunch , and receiving a picture award at the Awards Ceremony! Each child felt SO special! I felt privileged to be a part of this very worthwhile event to help those with special needs!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered several times for Cast for Kids. What has been most endearing about these kids’ events is seeing the joy on the child’s face in connecting with a fish on the line for the first time! It is a wonder to behold! Such a sense of accomplishment, being on a boat, fresh air, experiencing a brand new adventure, and best of all expressing sounds of joy, laughter, freedom, and mostly a positive connection with nature and other fishermen. A true sense of belonging when often there is none. Mom and dad are over joyed too!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization that promotes the joy of fishing encouraging involvement by special needs children and veterans across the USA. I attended an event this summer at Green Lake in Seattle. What a wonderful experience! The joy of the children, parents and volunteers was inspiring. This event was actually for all with a diverse population participating.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The first annual C.A.S.T. for Kids Event at Leitchfield City Park was a huge success!! We had 42 eager participants and over 100 volunteers. Each participant was paired with a fishing coach for a few hours of fishing and fun. Many children caught their very first fish!! Throughout the morning children and their families also enjoyed music, displays, face-painting, balloon animals, clowns, treats and prizes. The day came to an end with lunch, awards, and many fishing stories. I feel the C.A.S.T. for Kids event will help the children and their families to spend more time at Leitchfield City Park in the future, and enjoy the great outdoors. Thanks to the efforts and hard work, we were able to create an environment where children and adults could leave their worries on shore and share a day of fishing and fun. All those who participated definitely helped put a smile on the faces of many children and a warm feeling in their parents hearts. C.A.S.T. for Kids is a blessing to many and I am forever thankful for their foundation.


3 Tom L.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What better gift can you give a child than a day of fun that they wouldn't have had otherwise? C.A.S.T. does that again and again. Please help them create fond memories that last a lifetime.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My first experience with C.A.S.T For Kids was several years ago as a volunteer at a Fishing Kids Event. I was invited to help by a woman I was dating and had no clue about C.A.S.T or what they do. I only knew I liked the woman, I liked fishing, and I liked kids so why not. After an exhausting day helping kids bait hooks, land fish, untangle lines, I was walking back to my car and I realized I wanted to organize an Event in my neighborhood. Seeing those smiling kids experience the outdoors and truly enjoying themselves is very meaningful and sadly scarce for most urban kids in today's world. Yes, C.A.S.T For Kids and tell you the stats they pull off in terms of the number of kids, fish caught, events, etc but their is no way to measure the intangible benefit of a positive life long memory for a child or how that one experience may help them benefit society throughout their life. This is the real fruits of C.A.S.T For Kids efforts and why I am proud to volunteer to be a local organizer at an event in my neighborhood.

Brad S Cooper,
Real Estate Broker &
Chamber President
Seattle, WA

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a great event and organization. It is well put together and seeing the smiles on the kid's faces are priceless. I've been a volunteer now a few times and it's one of those events that I look forward to every year.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I’ve been able to experience two C.A.S.T for Kids events and I must say that they are inspiring. They are caring for the those who are normally cast out or forgotten. They are giving the gift of memories and joy to these kids who likely have never had an experience fishing. Their events are well done, and not just for the sake of being professional, but because a well-running event shows how much they value those kids. All around, this organization is doing amazing things and deserves recognition and participation. What an amazing thing! This is a picture from an event in the South.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor to C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation now for about 6 years. I hired Jim Behnken for guide trips on Falcon lake and he introduced me to the foundation. He and I have become strong friends and now he is a full time employee of the foundation.
As a result I am very aware of the amount of time and effort he and the other members of the foundation and their supporters put in to make these events happen for the kids. While I have not attended any events I have seen scores of videos showing the kids and the remarkable impact these events have on them. With all the negative press easily found on "sham" charitable foundations It is refreshing to know my donations go directly to the production of these events for the kids. It clearly makes a positive impact on the kids and gives me great pride to be a part of it. Anyone reading this - please reach out and make a donation to this great cause.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough good things about CAST for Kids or Fishing Kids... I have been helping as a volunteer off and on for over 20 years and was hooked like a bass on a fat juicy nightcrawler after my very first interaction with them in the late 1990's.

I am now a fisheries biologist and love working with kids events and it is my personal goal to help 10,000 kids catch their first fish... among many other groups I work with, CAST For KIds and Fishing Kids helps keep that goal achievable.

Two springs ago I was able to participate with them at Island Lake near Silverdale Washington at a Fishing Kids event... what was really cool is for my first time I was able to have my brother Brian help as well as my nephew Max help... remember the fat juicy nightcrawler... I got them hooked, hook line and sinker!

What really capped off the day for me was when I had helped a little boy and girl catch their "first fish ever in the whole world"and was later finishing up and chatting with their mom. She had asked where she was to return the tackle boxes and poles when I explained they were hers to keep so the kids could continue fishing... she was overwhelmed and stated she had always wanted to take her kids fishing but as a single mother had no idea as to how to or where to and had no-one to show her. It just so happened that she lived close by and my nephew and brother( whom both had just inhaled a nightcrawler) lived just miles from her and is the Port Commisioner for the Port of Keyport... I introduced them and the invitation to fish off the pier was on!

This is just one of many great stories I could share with you about these events... an amazing group and one that changes kids one fish at a time.

I have a dear friend Don Collens who is in the Wildcat Steelhead Club in Sedro Woolley who has a saying, "it isn't the kid who catches the fish but rather the fish that catches the kid". It is so true... I have seen kids lives changed just because they had someone volunteer some timet to take and show them how to fish, show they mattered, and that little one had their eyes opened into a whole new world of the great outdoors!

Thank you again CAST for Kids! You keep me a kid even though I am way older than most other kids who play in the lake!