WINDSOR – “It’s all about seeing kids have a good time and enjoying the outdoors.”
That’s how Jonathan Stalls described the Roanoke Cashie Youth Dream Team’s 8th Annual Hook N Shoot event, which took place April 2 – April 3.
The Roanoke Cashie Youth Dream Team is a Christ-centered, nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for all young people to hunt, fish or enjoy any other outdoor adventures their hearts desire.
All young people, regardless of the challenges they may face – physical, emotional or other – are welcome by the team.
Guides and RCYDT members are aware all challenges may not be visible and focus on making sure the participant has a safe and enjoyable experience.
In the decade the team has served young people, they have not seen a situation they could not accommodate – and geography does not matter either. There are no limitations based on a participant’s residence.
“Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and longtime supporters participating in our annual banquet, we are able to make the adventures available at no cost to the families,” explained Justin Harrison, RCYDT President.
Hook N Shoot rolls a fishing trip and turkey hunting into a weekend, thanks to guides who volunteer their time and skills.
Participants gathered Friday morning on the Leggett Farm off U.S. 17 between Windsor and Williamston.
Safety is the most important thing stressed throughout the event. Before anyone goes on the water or into a blind, there is training time with officers from North Carolina Wildlife Resources.
RCYDT board members assess the shooting skills of each participant before they go out with their adult guides in search of turkeys.
According to Stalls, the guides enjoy the event so much participants are sometimes paired with two adults in order to give all volunteers a chance to be involved.
Participants and guides braved the winds and cold Friday afternoon and managed to bring in impressive catches. Some brought in fish so large they struggled to hold them up for photos.
Early Saturday morning, the hunters rolled out for their chance at a turkey. Some brought back a bird but all came home with a new and exciting experience.
“I’ve never seen a kid upset to be outside,” Stalls said. Even with the cold temperatures during the event, the same held true for the adults.
Participants in RCYDT events take home more than just the experience. Board members with the organization strive to re-enforce the use of good manners, to share devotional time when the schedule allows and help develop any other skills that may benefit the young person.
For Harrison, he sees the team’s events providing fulfillment in many directions.
“It’s truly a win – win,” he said. “It’s the smiles on the faces of these young people and seeing what the volunteers get from this and the satisfaction in their hearts.” Harrison called it all exciting.
During both nights of Hook N Shoot, evening meals were prepared by area church groups.
“Then you see the church groups coming in and wanting to help us be successful for the kids, it fulfills their desire to help,” he added.
Mindy Raynor is one of the parents who sees the fulfillment come to life in their children. Her daughter Jalyn took part in her second hunt with the Hook N Shoot 2021.
“She had a ball each time and learned many valuable hunting and safety tips that she’ll be able to use on future hunts,” Raynor shared.
Jalyn’s mom continued.
“We are so appreciative and thankful for this organization, the hunting guides and everyone who contributed their time and efforts behind the scene; and the local community groups who came out and fed the children and their parents. They really do care so much for these kids,” she said.
Harrison also expressed the team’s appreciation to the guides and landowners who allow them to hunt on their property.
The team is currently running their 2021 Youth Turkey Challenge, open to all turkey hunters who are 17 years of age and younger.
Young people who have harvested a turkey this season are encouraged to post their birds on the team facebook page for a chance to win a $100 gift card.
Search Roanoke Cashie Youth Dream Team on Facebook for details.
Anyone interested seeking information about getting a young person involved with team activities can leave a message on the Facebook page and a team member will call them back, or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outdoorsmen interested in volunteering as a guide for team hunts (turkey or deer) or fishing adventures is encouraged to contact Harrison at 252-799-6552.