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Catch-A-Dream Begins with Hunting
By Allison Matthews
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The dream-granting program Bruce Brady envisioned while fighting his own battle with cancer was realized this year when 13-year-old Richard Dickson Jr. of Greene County experienced an outdoor adventure to remember.
Dickson, who has battled T-cell lymphoma for three years, was hosted with his family by Brady's wife, Peggy Brady, son, Bruce Brady Jr., Mossy Oak executives and Catch-A-Dream team members for a weekend of outdoor fun in January. The Dickson family stayed at the grand antebellum home that serves as Mossy Oak's hunting lodge at the renowned Lee Haven Plantation bow hunting club in west Alabama.
Dickson became the first youth to participate in an outdoor adventure granted by the Bruce Brady Memorial Catch-A-Dream program. The program memorializes Bruce Brady Sr. of Brookhaven, who died last year. Brady gained considerable notoriety among outdoor enthusiasts during his career as a field editor for Outdoor Life magazine. Brady also was an accomplished sculptor, whose subjects were inspired by nature and the outdoor life he enjoyed.
The Bruce Brady Memorial Catch-A-Dream program is hosted by the Mississippi 4-H Foundation to grant outdoor adventures to "youth with precious little time to waste."
"Catch-A-Dream has been established and managed to ensure it will provide children and youth with life-threatening illnesses not only the opportunity to 'catch an outdoor dream,' but also spiritual encouragement that is often badly needed by these children and youth," said Marty Brunson, Catch-A-Dream team member and Extension wildlife and fisheries specialist at Mississippi State University.
MSU's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, through its Field and Stream Youth Program, has partnered with the Mississippi Wildlife Federation to develop and implement the Catch-A-Dream program on behalf of the Brady family and the 4-H Foundation.
Dickson, along with his parents and sister, enjoyed a weekend filled with plenty of food and Southern hospitality, but the highlight for Dickson was a Saturday morning deer hunt. He was accompanied by Brady and Mossy Oak Camo Camera Pro Ronnie (Cuz) Strickland.
The Camo Camera captured the hunt on video as Dickson harvested a five-point, white-tail buck just after daylight.
Bruce Brady Jr. was seated next to the young hunter as he picked his shot and made a clean and efficient one-shot kill.
"This was the experience of a lifetime for both of us. The morning was perfect," Brady said. "Ducks were highballing in the distance overhead, owls were serenading and the orange sunrise was gorgeous."
The entire hunt will be featured on an upcoming segment of Mossy Oak's top-rated outdoor show, TNN's "Hunting the Country." The MSU Extension Service's own "Farmweek" crew was also at the event and will feature the inaugural Catch-A-Dream adventure in a future broadcast on Mississippi ETV.
Brunson said the program is granting outdoor adventures to Mississippi children and youths 18 years of age or younger. He said he expects to see Catch-A-Dream grow quickly and expand to grant the wishes of children who live outside of the state.
"In our inaugural season, we wanted to make sure we could meet the needs of children in Mississippi first. But we have already begun to see a wonderful response from people who want to be a part of this program or support Catch-A-Dream in one way or another," Brunson said.