A group of 13 children with special needs enjoyed the great outdoors with a pheasant hunt March 3 at Soggy Bottom Lodge in Marengo County.
Kidz Outdoors works to provide hunting and fishing opportunities for young people throughout the Southeast who have disabilities or are battling diseases.
Participants in the recent hunt at Soggy Bottom included people ages 9 to 21 with challenges like cancer, brittle bone disease, cerebral palsy or missing limbs.
“Everything was great at the hunt. Soggy Bottom treated the kids like they were gold,” said Carol Clark, Kidz Outdoors executive director. “They were just catered to.”
Kidz Outdoors has worked with the hunting lodge for several years to put on an annual fundraiser and outdoor event for hundreds of kids each May. The recent hunt was similar but smaller in scale and for families who volunteer with the nonprofit.
Clark got to know Soggy Bottom owner J.R. Rivas after her special-needs grandson won a hunting trip to the lodge three or four years ago.
“Through that prize, we built a relationship with Soggy Bottom. J.R. has opened his heart and property to these children and is really behind Kidz Outdoors,” Clark said. “He really believes in what we do.”
Brandon Smith with Soggy Bottom said the lodge worked with Kidz Outdoors to meet the individual needs of each child.
“Every kid that was here ended up getting a pheasant, which is good because they are kind of tough to shoot,” Smith said. “We just had to figure out the needs of each kid. Something like a wheelchair definitely presents a challenge in the mud. That’s what’s good about a day like this – everybody knew we were going to go extremely slow and take our time.”
In addition to the quail hunt, some of the children worked with hunting dogs and bagged several ducks.
Smith thanked the Alabama Power Foundation for its support.
For more information about Kidz Outdoors and the work the organization does, visit kidzoutdoors.org.