Volunteering: A Family Affair
There are many faces that represent what the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is all about—11,000 of them to be exact. That sums up the size of RMEF’s massive and energetic volunteer force that covers the United States from sea to shining sea. RMEF’s 500+ chapters are headed up and stocked by passionate volunteers who provide the fuel that makes RMEF’s engine run.
Among the many volunteers who made their way to Elk Camp 2014 was a young blond-headed fireball from Wyoming. Her name is Ahnya Ivie. Only 8 years of age, Ahnie seemed to be everywhere. There she was being hoisted in the air on stage at Volunteer Fun Night. Then, she was in the back of the hall (where you usually find the vocal and boisterous Wyoming contingent) whooping and hollering and cheering on her fellow volunteers. Then she was back on stage to receive yet another award for a Wyoming chapter. A few days earlier, she was spotted front-and-center all decked out in her cowgirl-best, walking down the runway at the Ladies Auction and Luncheon fashion show. Ahnie also worked the rifle raffle by selling tickets four straight days in Las Vegas.
There’s a reason Ahnie was and is so visible. Plain and simple, she and other youngsters like her are the faces of RMEF’s future. Sure her mother Katie Moody is Wyoming’s Buffalo Chapter state chair, but Ahnie has her own vision. Earlier in 2014, she surprised her mother by saying she didn’t want any presents for her birthday. What soon-to-be 8-year-old does that? Instead, she asked friends attending her party to bring a donation for the RMEF. They answered in a big way, contributing a combined $200. But Ahnie had more in mind. She used the money to purchase a .22 Revolver, which was auctioned off at the Buffalo banquet for $3,100!
Ahnie wasn’t done yet. She received a rifle from a former Wyoming volunteer state chair, sold tickets for it, and raised enough money to purchase her own life membership! Such is the passion of a young RMEF volunteer.
Ahnie is not alone. There are scores of other young boys and girls who carry the banner for the RMEF. They assist their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, and RMEF friends at banquets and other fundraising events.
I’m reminded of a teenager from Florida named Steven Weimann. Several years ago, then at age 14, he staked out a corner of the local arena for a two-day run of PBR’s RMEF Big Bull Tour. Sure, he was with his family but he was also there as the Indian River Chapter’s merchandise chair. Steven worked the crowds giving out antlers and selling tickets for a gun raffle. When all was said and done, he lowered his head and rested on the table in a state of satisfied exhaustion.
The bottom line is, volunteering can be a family affair. It is a way to make memories that last a lifetime. If you are currently serving as a volunteer, look around and take note of those younger RMEF folks around us. Ask if they would like to help—maybe they can walk donated or raffle items up and down the aisles at banquets, assist alongside adults as hosts at youth camps or other events, or pull on a pair of boots at volunteer projects.
So let’s all be a little more like Ahnie and Steven. After all, they are our future!
RMEF Director of Communication