The Big Event, Arkansas
When you hear, “This was the most-normal I have felt in a long time,” from a child in foster care, you know the time you spent with them was important.
A few weekends ago in Arkansas, we had 4 projects travel to fish at Dry Run near Mountain Home. Group homes and mentors from all over Arkansas traveled up to 5 hours to get to this weekend outing– ready to not only fish, but to also spend the night in a cabin and get a break from life’s stressors.
Our lead mentors, Bradley Bridges from Fayetteville, Matthew Bearden from Texarkana, Nick Grisham from Little Rock, and the organizer of this big event, Jess Westbrook, TMP founder from Little Rock, all gathered with their mentors from the year, ready to serve on the day of fishing.
When the river-time hit, mentors stepped up and filled packs, opened rods, put flies in boxes, set up tables, and prepped for an awesome day of fishing with their mentee. The kids arrived and each team took their kids to get their gear and then headed to fish the classic kid-only fishing river, Dry Run. “Wait, we get to keep this??”, we kept hearing as the groups filed through. Thanks to our generous donors and company partners, the kids all received their own gear to keep!
As founders of TMP, the best thing in the world to see is kids smiling, fish being caught, high-fives and hooting an hollering over fish netted, ringing out down the river; but the biggest honor was to walk around and hear some of the comments the kids and mentors were making.
We over-heard one kid say to his mentor, “This is the best day I’ve ever had,” after releasing a giant rainbow trout.
We heard another mentor say, “I’m so proud of you for sticking with this and catching so many fish.”
“These kids received so much more than fishing today. These memories will be so important for these kids to have. Thank you so much for making this happen for them!” We heard this from a group home leader!
As we wrapped up our day and stumbled back to our cabins, there was one message echoing throughout the mentors we spoke with: This day meant the world to not only the kids, but to all of the mentors. To see these kids smile is such a gift! It’s an honor to be a part of TMP and to know we are making a huge difference in these kid’s lives!
Please help us thank Cortland Lines, Loon Outdoors, Riggs Outdoors, Bass Pro, Orvis, Fly Vines, Umpqua, The Ozark Angler, Two Rivers Fly Shop, Norfork River Resort, and all of our donors that have made our Arkansas Projects take flight this year!
Special thanks to Laura Westbrook, Debbie Harrington, Kim Bearden, and Jay Langston for cooking for all of us this weekend. And to all of our group home partners that traveled so far to help us give these kids a fun weekend, thank you!