Denim and Diamonds: 2017 Women for Wildlife Summit
By Suzanne Downing
When Trudi Ost boarded a plane in Oklahoma on her way to the RMEF Women for Wildlife Summit in Montana, she had no idea that she would soon be named queen. Part of her royal duties would include selecting a “court” to dine with her at the head banquet table. It was just one of the exciting moments that took place over this fun-filled weekend in August.
The first ever Women for Wildlife Summit, held on August 4-5 at RMEF headquarters in Missoula, Montana, brought together RMEF regional directors and volunteers from across the country to share fundraising ideas and raise money for RMEF specifically through strengthening women for wildlife events. These ladies-only banquets are successful secondary fundraising events held by chapters across the country and are growing in popularity every year. The gathering gave the 60 attendees a chance to brainstorm together as well as experience a Women for Wildlife night in hopes that they take the skills learned back home to their own states and chapters.
On Friday, the summit kicked off with a barbeque dinner where women from six different states talked about how they are fundraising and raising awareness for RMEF in their communities.
On Saturday, they shared event ideas at a workshop where the ladies broke up into several groups to brainstorm potential banquet themes.
“One of the ideas from my group was to hold a Disney character-themed banquet,” says Sandy Engel, RMEF customer service representative. “Each table could have different Disney princess decorations, like Snow White or Cinderella.”
One volunteer from Wyoming mentioned she could even make a princess carriage out of chocolate for one of the tables.
The highlight of the summit was Saturday night’s Denim and Diamonds themed banquet for summit attendees.
Tiny faux diamonds and shiny cowgirl hats glistened on banquet tables. There were unique names for each banquet table like Diamonds are a Girls’ Best Friend, Blue Jean Baby and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
The women also played games like digging for diamonds—a game where contestants searched for hidden gems in a box of sand to win raffle tickets. They also tested their luck during live and silent auctions. The grand prize winner was Patti Kurshat, who took home a teal Kimber SCCY 9mm pistol.
The event raised $7,624 for RMEF.
“We are so grateful for these women who gave of their time and money to attend the summit,” says Jill Tonn, Wyoming regional director.
“The whole weekend was full of positive energy and creativity, and I think it is definitely going to pay off for elk country in spades!”
To find a Women for Wildlife event near you, visit http://www.rmef.org/Events/StateChapterEvents.aspx.