Catching Up with Catch-A-Dream

“You’ve been given a great gift, George:  A chance to see what the world would be like without you.”  In Frank Capra’s classic 1946 Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” Clarence, the angel, counseled George Bailey after George had contemplated ending his own life in the midst of depressing circumstances.  By many accounts, this is the #1 greatest Christmas movie of all time. With the inimitable Jimmy Stewart cast as George Bailey, it is an annual Christmas television staple.  Have you watched it this year?

You know the story.  George Bailey, a small town banker who considered himself a failure, stood on a bridge contemplating suicide on Christmas eve, 1946. But his plan was interrupted by the appearance of a tubby little fella named Clarence, who himself happened to be somewhat unfulfilled as well.  Seems Clarence had struggled for some 200 years to earn his angel wings, and this was his chance.  If he could convince George Bailey that his life truly is worth living, he would earn his long-awaited angel wings.

George declared that he wished that he had never been born!  But Clarence, hoping to teach George a lesson, embarked to show him how different life would have been had he truly never been born.  Magically, Clarence takes George on a trip back into his hometown, Bedford Falls, to see just how the town and the people would look if George had never existed.

After a frightening and confusing odyssey through a “George Bailey-less” Bedford Falls (now a pitiful depressed town called Potterville), wherein none of his friends or family recognize him, George is made to realize how many lives he had touched, and helped, through his existence; and, just as Clarence had planned, George awakened to the fact that, despite all its deprivations, he has truly had a wonderful life.  He was reunited with his beloved family and Clarence finally earned his angel wings. Yes, despite all its trials, stresses and challenges, it truly IS a wonderful life!

Each year at this time I wonder what things would be like if Catch-A-Dream had never been “born.”  Would anyone notice?  Would any lives be different?  Would any families or communities be different? HMMM … that is a sobering thing to ponder. What IF there was no Catch-A-Dream?

Well, it doesn’t take an encounter with a “Clarence” to realize that the world, and many lives (including my own,) would, indeed, be different if there was no Catch-A-Dream!  We are constantly amazed at the “ripple effect” as we watch the large and the small influences that emanate from each and every Catch-A-Dream experience.  The impacts, and implications, of this thing we have come to know as Catch-A-Dream are myriad and, in many cases, inexplicable. But each starts with a “splash” of some sort, large or small, in our “pond;”  the ripples from those splashes travel from the point of impact outward in an ever increasing circle until they reach the edge of the “pond” and then they travel back to the center where they began.  They touch, and they change, everything in the “pond!”

There’s something else that Clarence shared with George.  Strange, isn’t it?  Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Wow!  What if there were no “splashes?”  There would obviously be no ripples, and with no ripples there would be no impacts or effects!

At Catch-A-Dream, we are blessed to “make splashes” 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’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 our last child trip for the year 2018;  that’s 38 children and families who have experienced what we call “The Catch-A-Dream Way” in the context of a hunting or fishing adventure. And 38 plus extended families, communities, outfitters, etc. to be touched by the “ripple effect!” To really appreciate the magnitude of the year, we can dissect the numbers a little.


  • 33 Boys and 5 girls
  • 20 Hunting Trips and 18 Fishing Trips
  • Children from 26 different states and 1 Canadian Province
  • Adventures occurred in 15 different states, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean
  • 16 Different species of fish and game 
  • 173 calendar days when a Catch-A-Dream trip was happening somewhere

The “ripple effect” continues!  We have this privilege thanks to a God who loves us enough to have sent his only Son to be born and then to die to pay the price to ransom us out of our hopeless state and to give us the most amazing GIFT of all time – eternal life and Hope through his Son Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas!  And what if HE had never been born?  What a hopeless world we would live in!  Let us be grateful and celebrate God’s gift of eternal Hope that he delivered that cold, lonely night in a stable!

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. But also consider what things would be like if YOU had never been born?  What impacts have you had, or what impacts will you have in the future that would never occur if you hadn’t been here?

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.

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 2019. 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!  With His presence it truly IS a Wonderful Life!