The initial idea for a program that would ultimately be known as Catch-A-Dream was originated by Bruce Brady, of Brookhaven, MS in late 1999 as he faced his own arduous battle with cancer. Taking great comfort in time spent in the outdoors, he drew strength from these experiences, and was able to “recharge his batteries” as he hunted and fished in his last days. Shortly before his death, he shared with family and friends a vision for some type of program that would provide outdoor opportunities to Mississippi youth with life-threatening illnesses who, unfortunately, were no longer served by the world’s largest children’s wish-granting organization. When the Make-A-Wish Foundation established national policy that precludes granting a child a wish that involves hunting or use of “…firearms, hunting bows, or other hunting or sport-shooting equipment” Bruce and many others who love the outdoors, were disappointed.
Bruce lost his battle with cancer in February 2000, long before the idea was anything more than a simple concept to find a way to somehow provide meaningful outdoor experiences to a handful of Mississippi children who face life-threatening illnesses. But his family and friends were dedicated to creating such a program as a memorial to Bruce that would eternally provide a message of hope at a time when children with life-threatening illnesses need to know that hope does, indeed, exist. In mid-2000, the Catch-A-Dream Program was founded as a unique and unprecedented partnership among the Brady family, the MSU-Extension Service, the Mississippi Wildlife Federation and the Mississippi 4-H Clubs Foundation, which provided Catch-A-Dream its initial 501(c)(3) fiscal home.
The initial vision was, in retrospect, very small in comparison to what Catch-A-Dream would ultimately become, a testimony to the fact that our human visions are ALWAYS far smaller and of lower magnitude that are those of God. In late 2003, the 4-H Foundation Board recommended that, due to phenomenal growth and national support and involvement, a separate foundation be created into which the program would move from its original incubator home in the 4-H Foundation. The Catch-A-Dream Foundation was incorporated in December 2003 and granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS.
The Catch-A-Dream Foundation exists to provide resources and implementation of the Catch-A-Dream program. Both the Program and the Foundation were based at Mississippi State University from 2003 until December 2012, at which time the long-standing relationship with MSU came to a mutually determined end. At that time all programmatic ties to MSU were terminated.
The Catch-A-Dream Foundation is now based on a 43 acre property 7 miles southwest of Starkville, MS, which serves as its permanent home and headquarters. The Program emanates from that home location, and continues to deliver its singular mission across the US and Canada in the same high integrity fashion for which it has become recognized.
Read some parent and family testimonials