The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is looking for boat owner volunteers willing to create fishing memories for children undergoing treatment for life-threatening or chronic illnesses.
Boat owners are needed Thursday and Saturday to take groups of children fishing on Lake Texoma. Fishing is part of Camp Cavett festivities. Each year fishermen and boaters from Oklahoma, Texas and even Louisiana volunteer their time and boats to fish with the campers.
The week-long camp offers outdoor experiences to children being treated for illnesses like heart disease, cancer, sickle cell anemia and other childhood illnesses. The camp is designed to help the children enjoy life while attaining skills to assist them in coping with their illness and develop character to face their life's challenges.
"Camp Cavett is a place where these children can come together and have fun while learning crucial life lessons from one another," said Larry Cavett, past president and current board member emeritus of the Cavett Kids Foundation, in a letter to volunteers.
"We ask our kids, 'What activity is the most fun you had at camp?' Their answer is usually 'fishing.' These kids are resilient. They slowly walk to dialysis, then run back to their favorite event of the day. These kids could give adults lasting lessons in life on how to cope with what life has dealt them."
Gene Gilliland, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and active volunteer for the Camp Cavett fishing days, said this year about 75 volunteers and boats will be needed. On Thursday, the target will be stripers, and on Saturday, it will be black bass. But overall, the two days of fishing is a "fish-for-anything" derby. Campers who catch the largest black bass, panfish, catfish, striped bass or rough fish will receive prizes. In addition, there will be a free cookout for campers and volunteers following the day's outing on the lake.
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, although boaters are encouraged to bring additional life jackets if they have them in sizes adult small or adult medium.
Boaters and anglers interested in participating can register as volunteers online at http://cavettkidsfoundation.org/volunteers.