The Dream Casters Society is dedicated to improving the lives of others. How? Fishing, of course! Their mission statement says it all: Cast a few smiles, catch a few fish, release their troubles, and enjoy a day on the water.
The Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories is lucky to partner with Dream Casters to send some of our clients out for fishing trips each year. “We’ve had great feedback from our families who have gone”, says Arlene Huhn, Edmonton Regional Lead of Client Services. “They always seem to catch something (I think they must be paying the fish) and just have a really great day.”
Dream Casters was born in 2018 after founder, Tom Adams, realized that the smiles, laughter, and conversation that are shared on a boat have a special healing quality that is worth far more than the fish reeled in. Dream Casters initially started offering their trips to members of the military, but soon expanded to support other people of all ages who are living with Parkinson’s disease, visual impairment, Huntington’s disease, dementia, and more.
The Dream Casters team works hard to make the day as stress-free as possible. “Most of the people we meet used to fish quite often, but have a tough time getting out now due to their circumstances,” says Barry Dillon, a volunteer with Dream Casters. “It’s why we try to take care of everything. All they have to do is show up!” All costs associated with the trip are covered by Dream Casters owner, Tom Adams. Mike Maidens, a professional fishing guide, accompanies the trips in Alberta to ensure a great time is had by all. Trips are done during the week to avoid heavy water traffic, and fishing gear, licenses, and lunch is all provided!
“Every trip is different,” says Barry. “I love learning everyone’s stories and nothing tops getting to see their faces when they catch a fish!”
Debby Kerr and her husband, Hugh, were two Alzheimer Society clients that headed out to Lake Wabamun back in 2019 with Barry and the Dream Casters crew. Hugh was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about three years ago. The disease runs in his family – both his mother and sister had already been diagnosed and later Hugh’s brother would also receive a diagnosis. “Dream Casters was wonderful to Hugh and me,” says Debby. “We both love fishing but had not been able to do any for quite a while, so we jumped at the chance get back on the water.”
Barry and his team are looking forward to a great 2021 season. “We have the proper safety measures in place to keep our clients safe and having fun,” says Barry. “In a typical year, we run around 40 trips in Alberta, so that’s what we are aiming for!” Trips run May through September at Lake Wabamun, Lac Ste. Anne, and the North Saskatchewan River.
For more information on Dream Casters, visit dreamcasterssociety.com.