Give Something Back: Become a Volunteer
By Steve Hopkins, Arizona State Chair
My first year on a banquet committee was 1995. The first couple of years I didn’t get too involved, just kind of watched and learned and did what they needed me to do. Before long, I was also on the local committees of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Mule Deer Foundation and Safari Club International all at the same time. I was getting burned out.
In the end, I decided RMEF was the place I wanted to be. I have met and become friends with hundreds of people from my own city, state, region and, for that matter, the entire United States. The one thing I have learned best about this organization is that it is a huge family of people that cares about the future of elk and other wildlife. It promotes the true values of conservation. It supports hunting as a tool for sound wildlife management, but it also supports family values and the experience of being in Mother Nature’s hand.
The time has come for more sportsmen and women to get involved in the future of our hunting heritage. Animal rights groups collectively raise more than $250 million annually—the majority of which they devote to efforts focused on taking away our right to hunt. Think about that for a minute. Then think about this: There are about 1 million elk hunters in this country, yet only 150,000 call themselves members of the RMEF, and only 10,000 of those are volunteers. That is only 15 percent of the elk hunters in the U.S. supporting our cause.
My challenge to you is this: let’s strive to make 2009 a banner year for volunteer recruitment. Ask yourself, how much free time do I have in a week? How much TV do I watch in a week? Do I have two hours a month to dedicate to a cause that will ensure my freedom to enjoy and hunt elk?
If the answer is yes, pledge to give something back this next year. Help your local chapters raise a few thousand more dollars than they raised last year. Get outside and take part in a habitat project. Bring a friend, your wife, your kids, or even your parents. I urge you and yours to become a bigger part of the RMEF family.
Help do your part to make a difference for elk and other wildlife in 2009! I guarantee you’ll have fun, and meet some of the best friends you never knew you had. Please get involved today.