Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Dream Hunt For Terminally Ill Kids

Many outdoorsmen will confess that their time spent in the woods or on the water is sacred.  I am not talking about sacred in the figurative sense either.  There is an ethereal quality in the isolation of the wild where the created becomes one with the Creator.  It is in such cathedrals that the voice of God can be heard clearer than at many impressive church buildings.  Instead of hearing the voices of hundreds and even thousands, the silence of the wild can make God's voice that much clearer and louder.

Dream Hunt Foundation
Jeff Warren
In 2012, it was on just such an occasion that Jeff Warren found himself in God's place.  Jeff is an avid hunter. Even confessing that he loves to hunt so much that it might be like...a problem.  Maybe.  Maybe not!

Jeff had been hunting a massive buck for much of the season in 2011.  He spent as much time in the woods as possible to encounter this trophy white tail.  It was on one such day that God showed up instead of the deer.  Jeff was eyeing the tree-line when out of the blue he hears in his heart, "When will you hunt for others?"

Ummm, what?  Others?  He knew he wasn't thinking this up.  Being a pastor, he is familiar with hearing the voice of God in his life.  But he had no idea what to do with the question.  So, he did what any other person has done through the ages...nothing.

Dream Hunt Foundation

The next season he again was on the trail of another great buck, when he hears yet again the same question from the same source.  Jeff got serious and began asking some questions back.  After praying and fasting for two weeks, he received the vision and even the name which is now The Dream Hunt Foundation.  God laid it all out for him - "Take kids hunting who may never get that chance."

Jeff knew what God had told him to do but didn't have the first clue as to where to start.  How do you create waves in an arena where you don't know any of the people?  Again, he asked God about this.  God's response - "I know all of them."

Dream Hunt Foundation
He mentioned all of this to his Pastor who said, "Yep, I know who you need to talk to." Jeff was given a meeting at Shriners Hospital in Shreveport, LA.  The hospital helps kids with all sorts of physical limitations.  He had no idea that his first meeting was going to be with a bunch of V.I.P.'s at this incredible facility.  Everyone else were wearing suits and ties while Jeff walks in with a camo shirt and jeans.  Didn't matter, after they listened to his heart and vision, they immediately gave him the names of five kids.  In the first year, DHF took four kids deer hunting and one duck hunting.

Other hospitals and organizations began hearing about this and they too sent Jeff kids.  In 2014, DHF took 25 young people deer hunting, one duck hunting and 15 fishing.

The man who once was nervous he wouldn't be able to make any waves in this arena is now attempting to handle tsunamis.  In 2015, DHF has taken 19 kids fishing this spring and will take another 15 later this month.  Over 100 dream hunts are already planned and waiting for the season to open.

Dream Hunt Foundation
Dream Hunt Fishing Spectacular
Along with Shriners Hospital, Jeff is now sought after by St. Jude Children's Hospital (Shreveport Clinic), the Baptist Children’s Home in Monroe, Louisiana, Pay It Forward Networking, LSU Medical Center, not to mention word of mouth where people just pick up the phone and make a call.  He is even getting calls from surrounding states to take a children hunting.

This coming fall he has two Dream Hunt Weekends planned where 20 kids, 20 landowners, 20 guides and 20 cameramen will all meet up, eat breakfast and then head with their landowner to hunt.  After their hunt, they will come back for lunch to tell their stories, laugh, fish and skin deer.  How cool is that?

Dream Hunt Foundation
Dream Hunt Weekend
Knowing that none of this happens just by accident, I asked Jeff what is the average cost that goes into a typical hunt?  DHF does it right.  Every hunt is guided and filmed.  Landowners donate time on their places which helps tremendously but equipment, guns, ammo, ect. must be purchased or donated somehow.  BassPro Shops is a sponsor and still each hunt runs about $500 to make it the hunt of a lifetime.

I asked him how a kid gets selected for a hunt.  His answer blew me away.  Apart from having to have a terminal illness or affected by a disease that a hunt would not be a normal activity, every kid goes!  He had an adviser tell him once that he had to begin telling kids no so as to control the growth.  His response was priceless - "That's fine.  You be the one to call and tell that kid they have been turned down."

It's because of a great big heart in this great big man that businesses are sponsoring hunts left and right for DHF.  To date, not one child has been turned down due to money.  If you would like to sponsor a hunt, give Jeff a call or en email from the Dream Hunt Foundation website.

If you know a young person ages 8-18 who fits the criteria and wants to hunt or fish, the application can be downloaded Here.

You might ask, "Doesn't the Make A Wish Foundation do this?"  The answer is NO!  Make A Wish does an amazing job however, they will not grant a young person any adventure that involves a firearm.  Thanks to The Dream Hunt Foundation for filling a void and giving some young people the thrill of a lifetime.

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