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Fishing fun for special needs community set; sign up with Adaptive Sports for Kids

NEDERLAND — All special needs athletes participating in an upcoming fishing tournament are going to catch a fish if Allen Nation has anything to say about it.

“Hopefully, everyone catches a fish,” he joked this week. “We have the State of Texas coming in to stock the pond. I have my wetsuit ready in case someone needs to catch a fish. I’ll dive in the water and put a fish on a hook if I have to. I just hope it is not cold.”

Nation, the board of directors president for Adaptive Sports for Kids, updated the Nederland City Council on the event’s progress, saying everything is a go for 10 a.m. Oct. 16 at Doornbos Park.

As of now, more than 55 athletes from Adaptive Sports for Kids are signed up for the fun. There is still time to register, but sign-up ends Sunday evening. Sign up information is available at facebook.com/AdaptiveSportsforKids.

There is no age requirement, charge or residency restriction to participate.

Adaptive Sports is teaming up with C.A.S.T. for Kids to put on the event, which is functioning as a fishing tournament/derby. Nation said Valero has joined as a major sponsor to help cook and provide volunteers.

Other volunteers from fishing teams at Nederland High, Port Neches-Groves High and more are scheduled to serve as shore volunteers, teaming with each special needs athlete to help with casting and reeling.

Those who would like the participate as a volunteer can find information at adaptivesportsforkids.org or facebook.com/AdaptiveSportsforKids.

Shore volunteers receive a T-shirt and food, while each participating special needs athlete is provided a fishing poll and tackle box from C.A.S.T. for Kids to use at the event, along with take-home goodies including a T-shirt, award and hat.

Nation said Adaptive Sports for Kids’ positive impact has been helped greatly through the support of the City of Nederland and city council.

Nederland City Manager Chris Duque joked that after the athletes are done fishing Oct. 16, “the public will show up and finish (the remaining fish) off.”

 

“We stay active”

Adaptive Sports for Kids received 501(c)3 status in 2011 with a goal to give children and adults with special needs the opportunity to play sports at no cost to them.

Each athlete is partnered with a “buddy” volunteer, allowing parents to sit down, relax and watch their child play sports. If a parent prefers to be a child’s buddy, that is welcome.

“We have a Facebook page, Adaptive Sports for Kids,” Nation said. “Like that Facebook page, put it in your favorites so you see how we update everything. Whenever you see the announcements about registration open for a particular sport, sign them up and bring them out.”

Nation said the organization sought nonprofit status to make sure residency and age requirements wouldn’t limit the special needs community.

“I talked to a lady the other day from Lufkin who is contemplating driving down select Saturdays to participate,” he said. “We’ve had kids drive in from Galveston, Jasper, Silsbee and China. Our program is free of charge and year round.”

The fun includes tae kwon do in January, baseball March through May, bowling and soccer in June, basketball in August, a break for September and fall ball from October until the end of the year.

The group added the inaugural fishing tournament this October and is also hoping to put on a track meet.

“We stay active all year long,” Nation said.