BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — B.A.S.S. and the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation are accepting nominations for their annual humanitarian award recognizing the important work being done by many anglers to support fragile populations.
The C.A.S.T. for Kids B.A.S.S. Humanitarian Award will honor one B.A.S.S. member who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to serving groups such as children with special needs, veterans, abuse survivors or any people who need extra help and support.
“We are proud to collaborate with the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation to honor the many volunteers in both of our organizations who make such a positive impact in their communities,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Chase Anderson. “While only one person will receive this award, we hope it will spotlight the incredible work being done by so many of our members across the country.”
The 2022 C.A.S.T. for Kids B.A.S.S. Humanitarian Award honored Bill Wilson of Fort Collins, Colorado during the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic. Wilson started his local C.A.S.T. for Kids program 25 years ago, which draws participants from up to 200 miles away and uses 35-40 boats to take special needs children and their families out on the water. Additionally, Wilson serves as the safety boat for the City of Fort Collins’ Adaptive Recreation Programs, getting special needs children and adults on various local lakes and reservoirs on paddle boards and in kayaks and sailboats. He has also organized the community’s annual veterans’ breakfast for 21 years and makes sure that no food goes to waste by ensuring anything remaining goes to feed local homeless populations.
“Bill has wholeheartedly served the special needs children, veterans and youth fishermen in Colorado for decades,” said Executive Director of the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation and former Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jay Yelas. “The joy he exhibits while voluntarily serving others is contagious, and Bill has been a great example to many. The C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation was thrilled to see Bill receive the Humanitarian Award.”
To be considered for the award, a B.A.S.S. member must be nominated by February 17, 2023. Any member doing exemplary community service will be considered. The nomination form can be found at Bassmaster.com/award.
“The sport of bass fishing is full of folks with big hearts who enjoy serving others; we meet them all the time at C.A.S.T. for Kids events,” said Yelas. “I think it’s significant that the C.A.S.T. for Kids B.A.S.S. Humanitarian Award exists to recognize and show appreciation to those in the B.A.S.S. family who serve their community well.”
Anderson recently joined the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation Board of Directors.
“After attending a recent C.A.S.T. event, I was so moved by the experience and felt so strongly about the importance of their mission that I was honored to join the board when Jay extended the invitation late last year,” he said.
Judges from both B.A.S.S. and the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation will review all nominations as well as verify the humanitarian work of the honoree. It is important to note that, while C.A.S.T. for Kids focuses on giving special needs kids fishing opportunities, the nominations are open to B.A.S.S. members doing any form of good work to help a fragile population. The winner will be announced as part of the festivities surrounding the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville, Tenn., March 24-26.
About C.A.S.T. for Kids
The C.A.S.T. for Kids program has been proven to enrich the lives of children with special needs by hosting events that prove children with disabilities can accomplish anything. These events allow them to enjoy a unique fishing and boating event, one where they can leave their cares on the 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 an awards ceremony. The Foundation has 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 C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation has enhanced the lives of over 130,000 kids over the last three decades. To learn more, visit castforkids.org.