The warm sun shone brilliantly through the morning clouds and a soft breeze blew across Calaveras Lake creating gentle ripples that danced across the water. It was a picture-perfect setting.
But what made last Saturday morning even more spectacular was the laughter that filled the air and huge smiles plastered on dozens of kids’ faces as they fished from the lake’s shorelines and pier.
With a pole in hand and tackle box at her side, supplied by C.A.S.T. For Kids, Sylvia was eager to land any type of fish, big or small. The 14-year-old was one of nearly four dozen kids from Boysville participating in the CPS Energy-sponsored Kids’ Fish Day.
Like many of the other youth from Boysville, Sylvia had spent the day fishing in the great outdoors. Fortunately, there were a number of experienced CPS Energy volunteers on hand, serving as “fishing buddies,” and helping with everything from baiting hooks and casting lines, to unhooking and releasing the slimy catches.
Sylvia was paired with veteran fishing buddy Richard Taylor, who’s also a 28 year veteran with CPS Energy. Taylor first became hooked on volunteering at company-related fishing events about 25 years ago.
“Back then, San Antonio Parks and Recreation held an annual fishing event at Brackenridge Park sponsored by CPS Energy, Coca-Cola and H-E-B. At that time, our employees and their families were invited to fish,” he recalled.
In 2000, CPS Energy began hosting its own event – Kids’ Fish Day – to give our community’s youth and physically or mentally challenged individuals from United Way agencies the chance to enjoy a day of fishing and outdoor activities.
Last year, we hosted more than 35 children from Respite Care of San Antonio. As part of the preparation process for each year’s outing, a small cove near the Calaveras Lake pier is netted and stocked with hundreds of catfish donated by Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Taylor has been a Kids’ Fish volunteer since the beginning. Through the years the annual outing has become much more than just a tradition for Taylor; it’s become a family affair. His son Richard has assisted at a number of these fishing invitationals, and this year, Taylor’s grandson Edward joined him.
“It’s so gratifying knowing that we’re helping kids who have probably never fished before,” said the CPS Energy UED foreman. “It does my heart good to see their faces light up when they catch their first fish, and to be a part of that experience.”
While Sylvia and the other young anglers from Boysville weren’t able to leave Calaveras with any of the catfish they reeled in, it was clear they did depart with lots of great memories from the catch-and-release event.
Along with volunteering at Kids’ Fish, CPS Energy’s employees donate thousands of hours each year assisting members of our community in many other ways – reading with and mentoring students, providing environmental and energy-savings information to customers, distributing trees, participating in beautification projects and more.
Our employees also give back to the community through monetary donations. In 2013 alone, our CPS Energy/IBEW Local 500 employee campaign yielded more than $980,000, which is directly benefitting United Way agency programs in San Antonio and Bexar County.