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HOOKED Jack Ringold, a freshman at St. John’s School, volunteers with C.A.S.T., a nonprofit that empowers kids with special needs through fishing.
My passion for fishing started when I was around 4. My dad suggested fishing in Galveston. Unbeknownst to me, one must wake up early to go fishing, so I was surprised when my dad woke me up at 5 a.m. We drove to Galveston, stopping at Smitty’s Bait Shop to buy food for the fish, and at Shipley’s to buy food for ourselves. We arrived at the dock, and after a quick baiting and casting lesson, my dad cast two lines into the water.
It seemed like the fish weren’t hungry. Then, my rod started to bend. Even though I was a novice, I could tell something big was on the line. When I reeled it in, I found a big red drum. That day sparked my passion for fishing.
Ten years later, fishing still brings me a unique blend of excitement and tranquility. The joy of winning a tough fight with a leviathan is unparalleled. Every time I return to that dock with my dad, giddiness washes over me. That excitement to be doing something that I love and sharing it with my dad is why I have kept my passion for fishing.
A couple of years ago, I became a Bar Mitzvah. As part of the process, my congregation required community-service hours. Through a Google search, I found The C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation, which empowers kids with special needs through fishing. That was enough to send me and my dad on a four-hour round trip to Coleto Creek to volunteer with C.A.S.T.
After the first event, I was hooked. I enjoyed connecting with the kids and seeing their success. For example, at one event, I met Rylan, a kid who has autism. Even with limited speech and motor abilities, he found joy in fishing. By the end of the morning, Rylan was casting, catching, and celebrating like a pro. He also caught the bag limit on trout! Seeing his excitement brought me a sense of joy that I’ve only felt helping out at C.A.S.T. and is why I am now eager to wake up at 5 a.m. and drive across Texas with my dad to volunteer.
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