2013 NWTF Convention: In case you missed it (Always…)

Then. Now. Always. Forever. Never-ending.

That’s how long we want to keep the NWTF moving and grooving with our mission.

And how will we do that? Through the hard work of our rockin’ awesome volunteers, of course!

NWTF volunteers are super heroes when it comes to sheer passion for the mission. And Saturday night of the NWTF Convention is when we recognize the best of the best at our annual awards banquet (sponsored by MidwayUSA).

Money raised for the mission. Members recruited to the flock. Habitat conserved on behalf of wildlife. New people introduced to the fun of hunting and shooting. Those are the criteria for winning an NWTF award.

It’s awesome to see the humbleness of those recognized. Nearly all of them share credit with their committees, understanding it takes the effort of many to achieve success.

Which brings me to the another important part of Saturday night — the official roll out of the NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative.

In a nutshell, it’s a focused set of goals the NWTF believes we need to achieve to make a positive impact on wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage. It’s our super plan to face head-on certain challenges such as loss of critical habitat, decreased hunter access and attacks on our hunting heritage, to name a few.

Got five minutes? Watch this video to learn more about the initiative and discover why the Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is the answer to some of the challenges our country faces.

Now you’re feeling the need to get involved, aren’t you? Click here to learn more about how you can be part of the dynamic team of volunteers who believe it’s crucial for our country to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.

AHHH…SUNDAY MORNING

I’m going to just come out and say it: I believe the Sunday morning breakfast and worship service (sponsored by Remington) is the most underrated and overlooked meal function at our convention.

Maybe some folks are still coming down from the excitement of a full weekend, so they choose to sleep in. Perhaps others have to get the heck out of Dodge to make it back home before the workweek begins.

I, however, believe it to be two of the most inspiring and important hours of the convention — and I’m pretty sure the couple hundred of our volunteers who attend the breakfast agree.

It’s fun and joyful: the comedy of Dennis Swanberg and singing by Terry Thompson made sure of that.

But it’s more than a feel-good morning. It also offers serenity and perspective. I believe that what we do “for the least of these” — whether it’s a child, a wild animal, a disabled veteran or just reaching out to anyone who may need a helping hand — we’re doing it in the name of God.

I like knowing I’m investing in the future of our country when I volunteer on behalf of the NWTF. But when it comes to doing for others, belonging to a greater cause, it’s the always … forever … never-ending love of my Savior that reassures me I’m on the right track.

Read the July-August Turkey Country and get more involved (not necessarily in that order)

The NWTF is nothing without its volunteers. And I’m not saying that just to butter their toast. It’s true.

There are NWTF members and there are volunteers. And there’s a difference between the two. Members pay their annual dues, skim through Turkey Country, maybe even drop by a local Hunting Heritage banquet. We like them too.

But it’s volunteers who really move this conservation train forward. They’re the folks who DO something about our mission. They host fundraising banquets, coordinate outreach events and get their fingernails dirty while improving wildlife habitat.

NWTF involvement: Let the magazine be your guide.

They’re the ones who have stopped making excuses as to why they can’t be more involved.

Now, I’m not going to delve into all the personal reasons that keep you from making the transition from member to volunteer. It’s not my business. Nor am I trying to make you feel guilty. (Your conscious is probably doing that for me.)

Instead, allow me to demonstrate how there’s a place in the NWTF for everyone. I’ll show you how even the most obscure people can take the volunteer plunge with the help of my little friend, Turkey Country.

Scenario No. 1: Even though you’re middle-aged, you find it’s easier to communicate with kids than adults. They speak your language, dawg!
The NWTF offers a ton of ways to chill with a younger crowd. JAKES and Xtreme JAKES events are a no-brainer. Check out Mandy Harling’s column on page 60 to find inspiration. Flip back to page 22 to learn about more NWTF-sponsored projects for youngsters, like More Kids in the Woods. Then zip over to page 41 and see what’s happening with Arizona’s JAKES Turkey Hunting Camps. NWTF chapters always need fun adults to help mold young minds on behalf of conservation, so embrace your inner child and join us.

Scenario No. 2: You’re a land baron who wanders aimlessly around your thousands of wooded acres. You’re lost, lonely and looking for ways to draw wildlife to your land.
You, sir or ma’am, are in need of a Wild Turkey Woodland Landowner Field Day. Learn how to get started on page 24. It’s like speed dating for wildlife managers. Landowners are paired with expert biologists, contractors and government plans to help with their individual habitat goals. Then comes the first site visit, which is like a first date. But don’t call it that. It creeps out the biologists.

Scenario No. 3: You haven’t been involved in politics since you ran for student council in middle school. Is there a way to get back into it AND benefit the NWTF mission at the same time?
Many state NWTF chapters have joined “camo coalitions” to make their voices heard to legislators and the like. Read page 26 to learn more. If you’re more of a take action loner, check out Shooting Straight in each Turkey Country, which highlights hunting and wildlife issues, as well as how you can get involved. Let NWTF volunteer Dave Wamer serve as your guide. Find an interview with this pro-active policy follower on page 75. Doing so may not further your political career, but it may gain you points with a wilder constituency.

So, folks, let’s drop kick any excuses for not getting involved in the NWTF. We’re happy to have you as part of the flock, even if you are a bit quirky. Heck, they’ve kept me around going on 13 years now.