MOSES LAKE — Tickets are on sale now for the Youth Outdoors Unlimited banquet, scheduled for March 2 at the Best Western Lakefront Inn, 3000 W. Marina Drive, Moses Lake.
The action kicks off at 4:30 p.m., with dinner served from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and the program starting at 7 p.m. There’s a silent auction before dinner and a live auction after the presentation.
Youth Outdoors Unlimited (YOU) provides hunting and fishing trips to kids and teens with life-threatening or debilitating illnesses, or physical handicaps. Hunting and fishing are not a sure thing, so not all kids are successful. But kids who are successful get a stuffed and mounted trophy, and some trophies are presented at the banquet. Others are presented at other dinners around the state.
In 2018 YOU sponsored four bear hunts, four elk hunts, two fishing trips and seven deer hunts, said YOU founder Cindy Carpenter. Plans are being made for more than 20 trips in 2019.
“The trips are 100 percent free to these families and possible through YOU’s fundraising efforts,” Carpenter wrote. Most participants are from the Pacific Northwest, but have come from Texas, Utah, Montana and Missouri.
Four central Washington YOU hunters will receive their trophies at the Moses Lake banquet, Carpenter said. Sinclaire Albert, Moses Lake, got an elk on her trip. Colton Jones of Moses Lake, James Wick of Mansfield and Brody Clyde of Selah, each went deer hunting for the first time and each got a deer.
Hunting and fishing trips are tailored for each kid. Participants have hunted bears in Canada, deer all over Washington, gone fishing in the Columbia and the Cowlitz, hunted antelope in Wyoming.
Landowners donate the use of their property and guides donate their services. Outfitters donate equipment. If a kid gets an animal or catches a fish, professional donate the meat processing. Taxidermists donate their time to mount the trophy.
Because fishing and hunting come with no guarantees, every kid and family get the entire outdoor experience. Kids get to go camping, out on the boat if they’re fishing, driving the back roads, waiting in a blind.
Sometimes there’s camping and campfires, and there’s always camp food. Organizers also take into account any special dietary needs. Before they go hunting or fishing kids go shopping, to ensure they have the proper clothing and equipment.
Tickets are $70 per person, $700 per table, and are available at the YOU website.