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Fishing trip for special needs children

September 27, 2012

Horton's Orthotics and Prosthetics will hold a day of fishing for children with disabilities and their families.
The event is scheduled Saturday, Oct. 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Bishop Park pond in Bryant.
The event, called "Wheeling 'em in," is free. Reservations are required, however, and the deadline is Oct. 15.
"There are a lot of programs for children with disabilities, but a lot of times the children with physical disabilities get left out," said Tonya Horton of Horton's Orthotics and Prosthetics.
For example, children with physical disabilities aren't able to participate in many activities in the Special Olympics, which focuses on mental disabilities.
Horton's father, Gary, started the fishing program. "Dealing with disabled children every day," Tonya said, "he saw older siblings talking about going to soccer games and things like that, but the children with disabilities never had their own events."
Gary is a fisherman, and with all of the access to fishing in Arkansas, he decided that would be a great activity to get the kids involved in, Tonya said. "This time, the older siblings were coming to their event."
And it's "their day," she said. The children with disabilities are the ones who are eligible for "best catch" trophies.
Horton's Orthotics and Prosthetics will provide the bait and fishing poles. If the kids have their own, however, Horton encourages them to bring them since there are a limited number of poles.
The Maumelle Bass Club will be at the event to provide assistance to the children. Members will teach them how to fish if they've never been fishing before, and will help them bait their hook or provide any other help they might need.
Horton has been involved in this program, which previously took place in Hot Springs, for about 13 years. "I've watched some of these kids grow up," Horton said.
At its peak, the event drew 85 children and their families.
This year, Bishop Park is donating the pond and the pavilion for use on the day of the activity.
"They are being really great," Horton said.

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