“Making Dreams Come True” for the youth of South Carolina now a bit easier and less expensive
Lexington, SC (Devin Ruiz) - On May 3rd, Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill to ensure that hunting fees for terminally ill or seriously injured children are waived. The board for the Department of Natural Resources, as well as members of the House and Senate reviewed the bill as drafted and presented, and not a single member voted against it. Now the S.C. Department of Natural Resources is able to waive any fees associated with attaining hunting and fishing licenses for those under 21 who have terminal illnesses or have experienced a life changing injury.
This bill was supported by a non-profit organization who helps these children achieve their dreams of going on the hunting or fishing trips of a lifetime. That organization is the Outdoor Dream Foundation, based in Anderson, South Carolina. The Outdoor Dream Foundation is responsible for arranging hunting and fishing opportunities for children with these terminal illnesses or devastating injuries. Prior to the signing of this bill, the foundation was forced to work with other states to ensure the children could enjoy these types of trips without paying sometimes exorbitant fees for resident or non-resident licenses.
The organization is entirely volunteer driven and is a non-profit. 98 percent of all funds donated go directly toward the trips for the Outdoor Dream kids and their families, not administrative cost. They ensure that the kids can pursue their adventures and have the necessary equipment available to hunt and fish just like anyone else.
The Outdoor Dream Foundation even provides a mentoring program for the youth and their families. The mentors, all very experienced outdoorsmen and women, promote learning and the joy of experiencing the traditions of hunting and fishing.
The organization’s motto is “Making Dreams Come True,” and that is exactly what they have done for over 400 kids. What originally started by helping one kid fulfill his dream of going on a serious hunting trip has turned into a widespread foundation for helping kids all over the nation achieve similar dreams.
The Outdoor Dream Foundation does its best to enable an unforgettable experience for children who are living through some very tough circumstances. They have sent kids to other states all across the nation, because the child had a desire to hunt elk, moose, or other large game that aren’t native to South Carolina. They always strive to exceed the child’s expectations when it comes to an unforgettable trip! Some have even been sent to Alaska for an opportunity to ice fish or hunt other large game that can only be found there.
What is truly encouraging about the signing of this new bill is the demonstration of unity among the volunteers and leaders in South Carolina. Because of the support of individuals like SC House member Kit Spires (Dist. 96) of Pelion and Outdoor Dream volunteer Skip Still, this bill has become an outward sign of support for this program, Lexington County where dedicated volunteers like Bruce Compton live, and the state as a whole.
Working together with the SC Department of Natural Resources, the State House of Representatives, and the SC Senate to fully support these young people as they pursue their dreams of taking the hunting or fishing trip of a lifetime, shows that a small organization such as the Outdoor Dream Foundation, can have a tremendous impact.
To learn more about the Outdoor Dream Foundation, you can go to their website at outdoordream.org.