Oklahoma Federation Nation club takes chronically ill children fishing at Texoma

Photo courtesy of Gene Gilliland
Members of the Oklahoma B.A.S.S. Federation Nation take patients from a children’s hospital out for a day of fishing.

KINGSTON, Okla. — The Camp Cavett Bass Fishing event attracted its biggest turnout of children and volunteers, July 16 at Lake Texoma. It takes children from Oklahoma University Medical Center who are battling life-threatening and chronic illnesses out for a day on the water.

The special event drew 160 kids, which was a higher total than usual, according to Gene Gilliland, a North Oklahoma City Bassmasters club member and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation fisheries biologist. Gilliland estimated that 15 B.A.S.S. Federation Nation members volunteered to man the boats for the “fish-for-anything” derby.

“We had 70 boats this year, which is the most we have ever had,” continued Gilliland. “We were able to put very small numbers of kids in each boat. In the past we had people bring pontoon boats and we had to load them up because we didn’t have enough fishing boats.

“Most of the kids are outpatients and they spend a lot of time in and out of the hospital for various treatments,” said Gilliland. “They spend so much time doing that and don’t get to do normal stuff kids do, such as go to summer camp.”

Camp Cavett provides the kids with a week of outdoor experiences including the fishing day. “It gets them out on the water and they like to go fast in the bass boats,” Gilliland said. “For them, it is a release, a way to forget about the illness and troubles they have and just be kids.”

The North Oklahoma City Bassmasters has been involved with the fishing derby since its inception 14 years ago.

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