KOT Fishery provides day of fun for disabled

Greeks unite for fish-catching festival

By Sally Ann Moyer

The Heart of Texas Fairgrounds will fill with smiles when more than a hundred participants fish at Kappa Omega Tau’s “23rd Annual Fishing Event for Very Special People.”

The fraternity will host its event Saturday in conjunction with the Heart of Texas Region Mental Health Mental Retardation Center and other local organizations and sponsors.

Participants, assisted by Kappa Omega Tau members, will catch fish from a thousand-gallon fish tank filled with hundreds of trout.

“They get to catch a fish and see it cleaned and then put in the bag and take it home,” said Roswell, N.M., junior Matt Fisher, Kappa Omega Tau’s service chair.

Texas Parks and Wildlife provides the fish each year, and Kappa Omega Tau sets up the tank and runs the event.

“It’s a neat deal, plus I like the fact that we get all the sororities involved, too,” Arlington senior Taylor Laymance, president of Kappa Omega Tau, said, “I feel like the girls enjoy doing it as well. All my friends that are in sororities that participate — they always look forward to it.”

This year Zeta Tau Alpha will be running a tic-tac-toe booth.

Members of Baylor’s Panhellenic sororities run carnival-style booths and pair up with participants at the event, which runs from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

“Most people are … paired up with a special needs person and you take them around to each of the booths and they win prizes,” said Seguin sophomore Katie Mendicino, Zeta Tau Alpha sorority’s service chair. “At the very end, they go to KOT’s booth, where they can go fishing and they get to keep the fish.”

Laymance said Fishery is different from other service events because it comes with a spirit of immediate gratification.

“With Fishery, you’re there with the people that you’re serving and you see the smiles and the joy that all the games and stuff are bringing to the people that are attending,” Laymance said.

Fishery comes together every year with a large time commitment from all members of the fraternity.

“It’s one of the biggest things we do. It takes a lot of hours and a lot of participation,” Fisher said. “It’s a big project, but it’s definitely worth it.”

The free event is funded by a combination of state and federal grants and donations from people and companies in Waco.

Organizers of the event estimate that more than hundred participants come every year.

“There’s a lot of special needs people that come,” Mendicino said. “They’re all really sweet and really excited.”

Fisher has seen a lot of enthusiasm from participants in the past.

“They absolutely love it. It’s so fun for them,” Fisher said.

Fishery is enjoyable for Kappa Omega Tau members, too.

“Fishery is definitely one of my favorite events that KOT does,” Laymance said.