A paid volunteer?

Is there such a thing as a paid volunteer?

Yes, if you work for the National Wild Turkey Federation.

What may be an oxymoron in most cases is a reality when you work for a nonprofit. Sure, I draw a paycheck from the NWTF, but I also volunteer my time and resources. A lot of NWTF employees can say the same thing.

Two of my favorite coworkers, Jason and Shannon Rikard, encouraged folks to “step right up” to the Wheel of Fortune. Players spun the wheel for chances to win a .22 Ruger, a heavy-duty generator or instantly take away a $100 book of raffle tickets.

Our annual Edgefield Chapter Hunting Heritage Banquet was last week. That’s the hometown chapter for NWTF headquarters. A dozen or so NWTF employees and a handful of folks from the community made up the banquet committee that hosted more than 400 people to a night of fun and fundraising.

We had a county fair theme, complete with Mason jar centerpieces, a popcorn machine pumping the air with buttery goodness and carnival games like a balloon bust. There were raffles and silent and live auctions, of course, but the overall atmosphere had a downhome feel.

Karen Cavendar, NWTF’s Wild Turkey Records keeper by day … carnie by night

It was a good time — and a lot of hard work.

I think it’s important when you work for an organization that equips, motivates and moves volunteers to do the grassroots, greased elbows work, you should know what it’s like to be a volunteer.

 

Most NWTF employees know what it’s like to set up tables and chairs in the early morning dew, ask for donations from local shop owners, sweep the floors of torn raffle tickets — each a gesture that speaks highly of the people who get a bi-weekly pay stub from Ol’ Tom. No job is too small to make an event, organization or our overall mission a success.

I had fun working outside the office with Women in the Outdoors National Coordinator Teresa Carroll (left) and Michelle Jones, communications administrative assistant (right).