Catching Up With Catch-A-Dream – by Dr. Marty Brunson, CEO

“And so, this is Christmas, and what have you done?”  Driving to work this morning I heard these words in the old John Lennon classic and am reminded that it’s once again time to reflect back, and then to look forward, here at Catch-A-Dream.  On my daily drive to rural Oktibbeha County where our office is nestled between the vast Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge and the 10,000 acre John Starr Memorial Forest and Wildlife Management area, there is ample opportunity to reflect.  I have the daily privilege of exchanging the bustle, traffic and noise of a busy university town for the majestic pines and hardwoods of “the Refuge;” the almost certain sighting of white-tailed deer; the occasional gobbler, or hen and poults; or perhaps, on a summer day, a canebrake rattler crossing somewhere along the two and a half miles of gravel road to our gate.  As I pull up to our gate, often the first to arrive and thus the one to turn the key and “open” Catch-A-Dream for the day, I sometimes stop in awe of the view through my windshield.  Wow!  This thing called Catch-A-Dream is almost 18 years old and has made a lasting difference in thousands and thousands of lives.  And I … I … I “get” to OPEN THE GATE!!  I don’t HAVE to open the gate;  I GET to open the gate! What a gift, and a privilege, any time of the year!

We are blessed to “open our gate” year around, extending a message of Christian HOPE to children (and their families) who face life-threatening medical conditions.  We are also richly blessed with friends and supporters in all sectors of our communities, across North America and beyond. And it is with the help of those friends and supporters that we are able to stay on our singular mission and deliver encouragement and hope to hurting families through hunting and fishing adventures.

What an amazing year it has been!

  • We celebrated our 600th child trip, and that number continues to climb!
  • We involved new Outfitter Partners and re-kindled old outfitter partnerships.
  • We were humbled and excited as one of our outfitter partners, Little Flat Creek Ranches, LLC,  announced the dedication of their entire ranch exclusively to fulfillment of our mission!
  • We built new relationships with sponsors, state agencies and supporters.
  • We were honored to be on-stage alongside all the major conservation organizations in the country as our friend Johnny Morris, and Bass Pro Shops, cut the ribbon on the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, MO.
  • We saw new records set at many of our Friends of Catch-A-Dream program events, generating resources and awareness at the grassroots level in many states.  New “Friends” entities emerged with an immediate impact such as The Fox Hole Shootout, and M.O.S.T. (Men of St. Timothy’s) while many, including Southern Traditional Archery Association, MS Sportsmen for Catch-A-Dream Foundation, North Alabama Archery Association, Yazoo County Wildlife Association, Valley View Hunt Club, Zion Hill Free Will Baptist Church,Morning Star Bowhunters, Central Arkansas Archery Association, celebrated 10 or more years, and recently, the Marshall County Forestry Association reached the 15 year mark  of partnership and support of our mission.
  • Perennial Dream Makers continued to support Catch-A-Dream in a unique and quite significant fashion, and we welcomed many new Dream Makers into “The Dream Maker Club!”  This is a special group of people who, through a tax-deductible cash contribution of $4,500 or more, have each become the uniquely designated sponsor for one of our very special Catch-A-Dream children. This $4,500 contribution covers our average out-of-pocket expense for a child’s adventure.

Most importantly, though, we’ve stayed on our mission and concentrated our greatest intensity and focus toward delivery of outstanding child/family hunting and fishing experiences through which these children can glean that message of HOPE that we seek to share.  We’ve just completed child trip number 37 for the year 2017;  that’s 37 children and families who have experienced what we call “The Catch-A-Dream Way” in the context of a hunting or fishing adventure. To really appreciate the magnitude of the year, we can dissect the numbers a little.

View 2017 Child Photos here

  • 31 Boys and 6 girls

  • 23 Hunting Trips and 14 fishing trips

  • Children from 19 different states

  • Adventures occurred in 8 different states, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean

“And so, this IS Christmas, and what have YOU done?”  As you close out your own year, and then open a new one, we hope that you’ll take time to reflect as well. Take time to appreciate the ways that He has worked and provided in your own lives, families, business and endeavors.

As you consider Christmas giving, or year-end donations, we hope that you’ll consider us. We pledge to be good stewards of the resources with which you provide us. And there are many, creative ways to give, some of which don’t even cost you! Programs like Amazon Smile, Kroger Rewards and GoodSearch actually make donations on your behalf.  Many companies have matching gift programs where they will match an employee’s monetary donation, while others will make donations based upon an employee’s volunteer service hours.

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We rejoice in the success and prosperity The Lord has brought Catch-A-Dream this year, and look forward to what He has in store for 2018. We are thankful that he has decorated our tapestry with friends like you, and we sincerely wish to each and every one of our friends a Blessed and very Merry Christmas season and a prosperous and Happy New Year!