We know them as volunteers, but they do so much more for the NWTF mission.
I recently noticed a photograph on an NWTF social media post featuring a hen with her poults. A few days before, I reached out to some of our Education and Outreach volunteers to find out why they dedicate their time and resources for the NWTF and in what ways had this selfless act changed their lives. As I read through the many responses, the picture of the hen with her poults kept coming back to me.
“We want to pay it forward”
For those who were taught early on to appreciate wildlife and hunting, volunteers feel a great responsibility to pay it forward, and they do so passionately! NWTF volunteers were very open about the impact volunteering has made in their lives. The smiles on the faces of participants, both young and old, the enthusiasm, the sense of self-confidence after trying a new experience all leaves volunteers reeling from excitement and a sense of fulfillment. They are grateful, honored and humbled to be a part of these life-changing moments.
“We cherish our new-found family”
For many volunteers, they find common interests and like-minded individuals in which to work alongside. These friends become family, many of whom they would never have met without stepping up to the plate to serve on their local or state chapter committees.
“We receive more than we give”
You’ve heard the saying, “You’re never too old to learn.” Volunteers said the newcomers they meet impart as much wisdom as the volunteer provides. One volunteer went as far to say, “I’ve been spending a lot of mentor time with adultonset hunters, and listening to their stories about why they hunt has taught me a lot and made me rethink why I hunt too.” If you’ve ever had the opportunity to volunteer for a Wheelin’ Sportsmen or veteran’s event, you will likely do some serious soul searching on your way home. Watching those who have overcome major obstacles, eager and motivated to go afield, leaves one reflecting on their own hurdles yet to be cleared.
“We want to pass on the tradition of hunting to the next generation”
Every volunteer has their own way of imparting knowledge and guidance to the next generation. NWTF volunteers do everything: washing dishes, working registration, planning meals, setting up stations, mentoring, teaching and cleaning up after an event. Each role is no less important than the other, and all work together to pass on the tradition of safe, ethical hunting and the role of conservation in our outdoor world.
We need you!
The hen I mentioned represents our amazing family of volunteers, and those poults symbolize the many attendees of our JAKES, Women in the Outdoors, Wheelin’ Sportsmen and other R3 events. The hen provides wisdom to her poults, and they grow to carry on another generation of wild turkeys. We must also pass along our knowledge to others unfamiliar with our outdoors lifestyle. If we don’t share hunting and conservation with the next generation, who will? We are called to be caretakers in the world in which we live and also for those who are following behind us.
Thank you to our NWTF volunteers who do amazing work throughout the year. You are valued, you are important, and you are needed. If you are interested in volunteering in some way, please email me: [firstname.lastname@example.org](mailto:email@example.com). I’d love to connect you to a chapter who will use your talents and strengths to make a difference in so many lives!