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Tarleton Bass Club takes foster children fishing

Helping a resident of Foster’s Home for Children catch her first-ever fish are Tarleton State University Bass Club members (from left) Wyatt Young, Sara Mundkowsky and Graham Godwin.

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — The Tarleton State University Bass Club continued its tradition of introducing foster children to fishing April 12 at Rough Creek Lodge’s El Colina Lake.

Six club members volunteered to help with the club’s annual Fishing for Foster’s event that drew 16 children ages 5 to 18 from the Stephenville-based Foster’s Home for Children. “The event is designed to teach them about fishing and enjoying the outdoors,” said Wyatt Young, Tarleton Bass Club president. The B.A.S.S. Nation college club’s members who helped the foster children were Sara Mundkowsky, Reid Smith, Graham Godwin, Chance Cobb, Will Davis and Young.

Tarleton alumnus and club founder Tanner Morgan arranged to host the group at Rough Creek Lodge & Resort.  Morgan is the lodge’s wildlife recreation and equine manager. Young said Morgan started the Fishing for Foster’s outing around 2008 and was held for four years, but then the club stopped holding the event until it was revived in 2018. 

Some of the club members who volunteered for last year’s event returned to help this year. “They thoroughly enjoyed it the first year they did it,” Young said. The club president said some club members who had never participated in the event were skeptical about volunteering this year, but he told them they would have a great time. After the event, Young noticed all the club members agreed it was “a really good time” and wanted to do it again next year.

The college anglers taught the youngsters how to cast and use a variety of lures. “Some of those kids have never even fished before,” Young said. “I helped a girl catch her first fish ever and that was really neat.” The club members assisted with landing bass, removing the hook and handing over largemouths for the children to get photos of their catches.

“Most children who come into our care have never enjoyed some of the simpler pleasures of life,” said Glenn Newberry, president and CEO of Foster’s Home for Children. “This includes fishing. For a number of years, the Tarleton Bass Club has planned in detail an afternoon for our kids to fish an area lake. It’s the norm to hear a number of children say this is their first time to ever go fishing.”

“The afternoon that the Tarleton students invested in our children will be a memory they cherish,” Newberry said. “They talked about the trip all the way home. What a joy to see college students, who could have spent their Friday evening a hundred different ways, spend it instead on building relationships with our kids. We thank them for their unselfish afternoon of service to children of trauma.”