December 2020


December 2020  |  Volume 9  |  Issue 2

Matching Gifts

Merry Christmas season and a prosperous and Happy New Year!




by Dr. Marty Brunson, CEO

A couple of years ago, I wrote a year end article about the classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and discussed, among other things, that unforgettable character Clarence the angel.  I won’t recount that message, but here’s a link if you’d like to take a look  Rather, let me just share that George Bailey isn’t the only person ever to have been visited by a “Clarence.”  I, too, have had my own encounter.

Though sent for a different reason, my own “Clarence” came in the form of a gentle man named Bill Roller.  In fact, I’ve shared with many friends my perception of a physical resemblance between the two “Clarences,” and I saw many similarities in manner and demeanor.  I enjoyed the shelter of his nurturing wings for over 16 years, and both I, and Catch-A-Dream, are immensely stronger because of his influence.  Bill wasn’t required to help me in order to earn his angel’s wings, they were already a certainty; but they were ultimately awarded this past May when he succumbed to cancer.  Bill gained his wings, and I lost a “second father.” Though the details of our journey together are fodder for another, longer article down the road, suffice it to say for now that this “Clarence” left an indelible mark in many ways!

Bill had a “way with words” and one of the many tidbits of wisdom he left with me came during a very challenging time when I found myself (and Catch-A-Dream) at a real crossroad with difficult decisions to make.  As we wound our way through the Missouri Ozarks in his “rolling conference room” enjoying his favorite treats from a little dairy stand near Gateway, AR, Bill looked at me and said, “You know, Marty, it’s kinda like eating the world’s tallest ice cream cone;  you gotta start at the top and keep licking at it ‘til you get yourself around it.  And if you were to decide to take the blows you’ve been dealt, make the most of the new opportunity, and come out stronger in the end, I’d be inclined to support you in that decision.”

Christmas is always a reflective time of year. The days leading up to Christmas, and those springing into a new year, bring both anticipations and anxieties but, always, also opportunities for reflection.  But this year our spirits are dampened and many of us have no real desire to think back on the year we are bringing to an end.  Brian and Spencer have shared in their columns a little bit of how 2020 has played out for Catch-A-Dream.  It has, indeed, been a wild sort of roller coaster ride for all of us.

Despite massive challenges for Catch-A-Dream in 2020,  we’ve heeded Bill Roller’s advice from that ride down to Gateway to get an ice cream cone.  We simply started at the top and kept licking ‘til we got ourselves around it!  We reinvented our resource development strategies. We reinvented our approach to child trip planning and execution.  But most importantly, 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.

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 God has worked and provided in your own lives, families, businesses and endeavors DESPITE the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.

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 GoodShop 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 successes (and the lessons) The Lord has brought Catch-A-Dream this year, and look forward to what He has in store for 2021. 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!  And KEEP LICKING!

Chisholm Trails
by Brian Chisholm

In the late 1800’s a German Field Marshall, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder stated that “No plan of operations reaches with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main force.” Others later coined variations of Moltke’s original statement.  Winston Churchill said, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential”, and Dwight D. Eisenhower is credited with saying, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”  However, as followers of Christ, the quote regarding plans to which we should give more earnest heed is found in Proverbs 16:9 “A mans heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.”  If 2020 has taught us anything, it is the fact that any plans we had at the beginning of the year could be thrown out of the window.

2020 began as most years do for the Catch-A-Dream Foundation.  In January we were finishing up our late season whitetail hunts and shifting gears in preparation for the upcoming springtime fishing and fundraising.  “Our plans” were progressing as we expected………until mid-March when we made contact with what Helmuth von Moltke would have called “the enemy’s main force,” a virus called SARS-CoV-2, or what we’ve come to know as COVID-19.  From that point on, our plans became worthless.  Almost overnight, we could no longer function in a “normal” fashion.  Our steps were redirected, and our faith was tested.  Fundraising events were cancelled, and child trips were postponed. Everything came to a screeching halt and new planning was in order.

With our steps redirected, we began praying and working on new ways, and devising new plans and strategies, for conducting child trip experiences and salvaging fundraising income. Over the summer, as travel restrictions were relaxed, we were able to cautiously conduct child trips, and in His unending faithfulness, the Lord directed us down a fundraising path we had never travelled and one from which we may not soon depart.  That path led to holding fundraisers without actual events and entering the world of virtual fundraising.

Virtual fundraising is not a new concept, but for Catch-A-Dream having to conduct entirely virtual events was new and unfamiliar.  As we followed God’s new directions, we were quickly, though sometimes uncomfortably, able to navigate these new waters and make the best of a seemingly bad situation.  Looking back on the past whirlwind of a year, we see that Catch-A-Dream, with the support of many faithful volunteers and donors, has survived these changing and challenging times and is poised to meet the upcoming year with renewed strength and faith, knowing that we serve a loving and faithful Savior, who promises to never leave us, nor forsake us.  The paths and plans may change, but the God we serve never does!!

May you all have a Blessed and Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.


by Spencer Brunson


For many, the words Twenty-Twenty bring up mixed emotions. The Year 2020 has been a year to remember, for numerous reasons. But, instead of the BAD, let us focus on all the GOOD. If we go to an eye doctor and they tell us we have 20/20 vision, that is considered normal visual acuity. That makes Twenty-Twenty GOOD right?

To date, we have received fourty-three (43) child applications in 2020. In a “normal year”, we typically see fifty (50) to sixty (60) applications. There were 3 ½ months this year where we saw ZERO new applications. That never happens. Even in a historically slow month, we have almost always had a few new applications. Given the circumstances our country has faced this year, we consider 43 applications to be GOOD. Not good in a sense that there are that many hurting children and families, but GOOD in the sense that there are 43 NEW potential opportunities for Catch-A-Dream to make a difference.

In any given year, our average trip numbers are anywhere from low-mid 30s to mid-upper 40s. In the Year 2020we have been blessed to safely provide TWENTY (20) children with their dream hunting or fishing experience. Isn’t it a bit ironic that we can say “Twenty in ‘20!?”

Catch-A-Dream trip planning and execution already requires complex logistics and execution. Throw in postponements, quarantines, travel restrictions, reduced flights, social distancing, mandatory masks and many other “Twenty-Twenty” issues, those logistics have become that much more complex. Flexibility and adaptation to constant changes have been the name of the game.

A huge Thank You goes out to all our Catch-A-Dream families, Volunteer Hosts, Outfitting and Fishing Partners, and everyone else who plays a role in pulling these trips off safely and effectively. Without all of you, the words Twenty-Twenty would have a far less positive connotation.

FROG- Fully Rely On God