Contributions to Make-A-Wish Foundation garner national attention

SHAWNEE MISSION -- The Kansas B.A.S.S. Chapter Federation is a statewide organization consisting of more than 500 members in 35 Kansas B.A.S.S. clubs. In addition to fishing, the membership is actively involved with youth, conservation, and community service programs. This year, that dedication yielded the Kansas organization the National B.A.S.S. Award For Community Service & Public Relations.

But the effort began in 1997, when Kansas B.A.S.S. adopted the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kansas as its charity. Since that time the Kansas Federation has donated more than $70,000 to help grant the favorite wish of a Kansas child between the ages of 2 1/2 and 18 who suffer a life-threatening condition. In 2004, Kansas B.A.S.S. donated more than $13,800 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

To raise the money, Kansas B.A.S.S. conducted boat raffles, received donations from member clubs, and solicited business sponsors and friends. Some member clubs conducted special fundraising projects within their communities. In 2004, Kansas B.A.S.S. received a $1,465 memorial gift from the Hi-Plains Bassmasters in Garden City, a gift given to honor a club member who had died earlier in the year.

In addition, Kansas B.A.S.S. hosts an annual big bass benefit buddy tournament called "Fishin? for Wishes" to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The event has become one of the largest of its kind in Kansas. Last fall, Fishin? for Wishes drew 83 boats comprising 186 contestants on Cedar Bluff Reservoir.
Another Kansas B.A.S.S. fundraiser is a "Wishing Well" that travels the state with the organization's tournament weigh-in trailer. Following each tournament, participants are given the opportunity to drop donations in the Wishing Well for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kansas. During 2004, the Wishing Well yielded nearly $800.

These combined activities enabled Kansas B.A.S.S. to raised the money they donated this year, and garner national recognition. On April 28, Kent Craft, vice president of Kansas B.A.S.S., will travel to Orlando, Fla., to accept the award on behalf of Kansas B.A.S.S. during the National B.A.S.S. Federation's annual awards banquet.