Tag Archives: SCIF

Educator Reflects On AWLS Experience

While attending our annual Mid-Michigan chapter fundraiser at the Soaring Eagle this past February, our Front Sight editor and very active SCI member, Mary Harter, told my wife, Sara, and me that we needed to check into the “AWLS” program.  The American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) was a program I knew of and had contemplated attending for years but couldn’t seem to find the time or didn’t see how it would fit into my classroom.  I logged Mary’s suggestion in my mind, but wasn’t sure it would work this year either, because I was planning to take my oldest son on safari to South Africa.

Within the next month, I changed my mind.  When we received our issue of Safari Times, there was a story about AWLS and the benefits it had for hundreds of teachers each year.  After Sara and I read through the article, we decided we needed to investigate the program further.  Within a week, we contacted Mary who got us in touch with Doug Chapin, the head of the education committee for our Mid-Michigan Chapter.  Doug was very helpful in getting us all the information we needed to apply and prepare for our trip to Wyoming.

When we told people of our upcoming trip, some assumed it would only be a vacation, almost like a working holiday.  Let me assure you it was not.  Don’t get me wrong, we truly enjoyed every aspect of the school, but our days were on a schedule from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.  We were exposed to a multitude of classroom and outdoor experiences.  We discussed things from wildlife ecology to conservation and everything in-between.

Most people took a day or two to get to know each other and open up and people with common interests gravitated toward one another, but we all mingled every day.  In all, we had 36 teachers from all over the country converging along Granite Creek exploring how we could incorporate conservation into our classrooms.  There were teachers from as far west as Alaska and California, as far south as Florida and as far east as Rhode Island.

It was an awesome experience to see all these educators come to this training with open minds.  Many in our class did not hunt (only six of us did), some didn’t agree with hunting and others questioned why people hunt and hang animals on their walls.  Some of the subjects we touched on divided the class while others brought us together, but throughout it all, people were civil and open minded.

I felt, as a hunter, I was acting as an ambassador to hunting.  During a break one day in the commons area while having a conversation about my recent trip to South Africa with a classmate, another classmate asked why I felt the need to have animals mounted on my walls and what happened to the rest of the animals I hunted.  I was taken by surprise with that question because, coming from the community, these questions are never asked.  I found it a great opportunity to explain why I hunt and the importance of hunting to the communities of South Africa as well as my own family at home.

After explaining my respect for the animals and wanting to share their majesty as well as my hunting memories through the mounts on my wall, I was able to show this person a different perspective on us as hunters.  I also explained all of the animals we hunted in South Africa as well as the ones my family hunts at home were used for food, for either us on our trip or the workers on the farms we were hunting.  This also allowed us to discuss the differences between hunters and poachers.  Unfortunately, up to this point in this person’s mind, hunters and poachers were in the same category.

Stemming from this conversation was a question from another individual who agreed with people owning guns and hunting but couldn’t understand how people could call it hunting when hunting animals in fenced areas.  I used an analogy I read years ago about fishing.  I explained that some fish are caught out of very large lakes and it’s called fishing, while others are caught out of stocked ponds and it’s called fishing as well.  Then I went on to explain the ranch we hunted in South Africa had 20,000 acres of fenced in property and very few animals were impacted by the fences.  A few days later I received a video from the safari company we hunted with of a kudu bull effortlessly jumping over an eight foot plus fence which I showed to this individual.

In both cases, these people had legitimate questions and I felt I answered them adequately.  That doesn’t mean these people agreed with me when we were done talking, but they at least had a new angle to look at.  I applaud these teachers for coming to this training with the questions they had and having the willingness to listen to other people’s perspectives with open minds.

During the duration of the week we also had many enjoyable field experiences including outdoor survival, visiting gas fields, going to the elk refuge and rafting down the Snake River to mention a few.  One of our more enjoyable experiences was rafting the Snake River.  By the time we did this, we were all very comfortable with each other and our raft guide was awesome; even abandoning the raft at one point to show up all of us jumping into the river by doing a twisting 360 back flip.  We also had many people ride on the front of the raft (like a hood ornament) through the rapids.  This was called “riding the bull.”

Everyone going through the training were also able to shoot skeet, .22 pistols and rifles as well as bows.  In fact, we all became certified instructors of the National Archery in the Schools Program, which I am trying to implement into the school I teach in my new exploratory class.

The AWLS program had perfect timing for me.  I was informed before leaving for summer vacation I would be teaching a new class in the fall — a class with which I have a great deal of leniency in what I want to teach.  The Monday after we returned from our training, I went in to speak with my principal about making my class an outdoor education class where I would apply many of the lessons learned in Wyoming, including archery, stream ecology and outdoor survival.

Sara and I both found multiple other lessons we will be able to incorporate into our current classes as well — me in my geography class and Sara in her science class.  We are both excited to implement what we learned and to expose as many young people as possible to the many wonders the great outdoors offers us all.

Sara and I would like to thank everyone within our Mid-Michigan Chapter who made it possible for us to attend this spectacular program.  It’s through efforts like these that we will be able to continue educating young people about conservation, the importance of nature and the value hunting has in preserving the great outdoors we currently experience.–Josh Christensen

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SCI Foundation Attends 2014 AWCF

SCIF President Joe Hosmer and SCIF Conservation Committee Chair Al Maki have arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to represent SCI Foundation at the 2014 African Wildlife Consultative Forum.  After a warm welcome from Mr. Dauwd Meme, Director General of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority, the conference began in earnest discussing lions, community based resource management, and the economics of hunting. We will provide updates on this important forum as they become available.

 

What SCI Does for Chapters:

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Recruiting

  • Incentive Awards/Campaigns
  • Chapter Locator Service
  • 100-Mile Radius Lists (For use in promoting attendance at local fund raisers)
  • Promotional Materials (forms, stickers, etc.)
  • Membership Table Staffing at Fundraisers-SCI Staff Field Coordinators
  • Use of SCI/SCIF name and logos
  • Start new Chapters to increase the visibility and strength of current Chapters
  • Renewal processing and fulfillment
  • New member processing and fulfillment
  • Direct billing from headquarters for chapter dues and reimbursement back to the chapter at no cost to the chapter

Liability Management

  • Chapter Liability Insurance
  • Directors and Officers Insurance
  • Monthly Compliance Reviews
  • Training (Regional, and Annual Officer Training)
  • Help with Chapter Annual Report
  • Tracking and database management of all membership, board of directors, etc.
  • Database management of chapter documents (IRS 990’s, bylaws, letters of incorporation, 30% affidavits, etc.)

Chapter Improvement

  • Sharing of Best Practices
  • One-on-one direct help/training from SCI Staff Field Coordinators
  • One-on-one direct assistance from SCI Volunteer Regional Rep.
  • Regional Training Seminars
  • Chapter member retention program
  • Incentive Awards/Campaigns
  • Chapter Board meeting attendance as requested – SCI Staff Field Coordinators
  • Chapter Awards Help

Fundraising

Chapters keep 70% of net from their largest fundraiser

  • Chapter Fundraiser Advertising in Safari Times and on Website
  • Annual Fundraising Training Seminar and Giveaways
  • Chapter Fundraising Catalog/Vendor Relationships
  • Promotional Items/Games/Major Prizes
  • Suggestions for Auctioneers, Raffle Girls, Banquet Software – SCI Staff Field Coordinator
  • Banquet attendance and help with membership sales  – SCI Staff Field Coordinator
  • Membership sales at banquet – SCI Staff Field Coordinator
  • Regional Rep assistance
  • Speak at chapter banquets – SCI Staff Field Coordinator
  • SCI Gun of the Year program
  • Pre-banquet counseling, and post banquet critique – SCI Staff Field Coordinator
  • Day of banquet help with speaking to the crowd, help setting up, and other duties as needed
  • Annual Convention to meet potential donors
  • New fundraising ideas (Bingo game, Heads or Tails game, etc.)

Legislative/Regulatory

  • Support for Local/State Initiatives
  • Protecting Chapter Members’ Hunting Rights and Privileges
  • Hunters Defense Fund
  • Represent members, volunteers, and committees in Federal, State and International lobbying for hunters’ rights
  • Develop legislation for all levels of government lobbying
  • Initiate grassroots outreach to SCI members and hunters nationwide to support advocacy initiatives
  • Fundraise and build financial strength for SCI-PAC
  • Develop voter education campaigns to be successful in elections
  • Conducts seminars with SCI chapters to discuss advocacy and fundraising for SCI-PAC
  • SCI’s attorneys initiate legal challenges to regulations that are anti-hunting both in the states and nationwide.
  • SCI’s attorneys work with SCI chapters to represent their members’ interest in legal battles to improve hunting opportunities nationwide
  • SCI’s Washington office works with members to address questions related to the importation of hunted species, transportation of firearms, questions on outfitters, international hunting regulations
  • SCI works with chapters to develop press releases
  • SCI works with chapters on their response to various media requests
  • SCI works to pull appropriate media lists for chapters so they are able to tell their chapter’s message
  • Respond to membership inquiries about  airline regulations, international travel and importation
  • Lobby-day coordination with the SCI Board of Directors on Capitol Hill at the SCI May Board of Directors meeting

Communication

  • Crosshairs generated through the SCI Washington DC office
  • Monthly email communication to each Chapter from SCI Staff Field Coordinators and other National communications as needed to keep Chapters informed
  • Comprehensive web site with “Chapter Only” sections
  • A trained SCI Staff Field Coordinator assigned specifically to each Chapter for one-on-one communication
  • A trained Regional Rep assigned to each Chapter to further assist in communications
  • Publications: Safari Magazine, Safari Times, Chapter Spotlight
  • Professionals in every aspect of the mission of conservation, education, and humanitarian services to offer counsel and help on a Chapter level
  • Monthly mailings to every chapter including; chapter membership rosters, dues reimbursements, new members recruited in the state, new members recruited within each specific chapter, etc.
  • Compliance help and monitoring
  • Annual report training/assistance
  • Chapter fundraiser advertising in Safari Times
  • Chapter-related news items in Safari Times newspaper
  • Chapter listings and contact information in Safari Times newspaper

Chapter Recognition

  • Chapter Awards Competition
  • Chapter Publication Awards Competition

Convention and Events

  • Grand Slam Awards based on how many members chapters register for the SCI Annual Hunters’ Convention
  • Provide a fundraising certificate for a Convention Package to chapters attending training seminars
  • Provide chapters with auction guidelines and policies upon request
  • Provide chapters with referrals on companies looking to get involved beyond the Convention

 Record Book

  • Annual Gift Certificate for Record Book/World Hunting Awards donation
  • Offers Record Books at cost for chapter fundraisers
  • Provides Chapter Awards plaque at cost for chapter award banquets
  • Offers Official and Master Measuring seminar at chapter events including free scoring of trophies for their members
  • Offer an informative seminar on why you should document your hunting heritage
  • Promote local chapters at our regional events and outdoor expos
  • Offer the ability to customize a chapter specific record book

 SCI Foundation

Education Sables & Humanitarian Services

 Education Sables

  • Raise funds to make grants available to support chapter education activities and programs.
  • Education Matching Grants are up to 50% of a chapter 30% contribution up to a maximum of $2,000 per year for education projects that introduce adults to conservation education, hunting and shooting sports.
  • Chapter Youth Grants provide up to $5,000 to support chapter activities that engage youth in conservation education, shooting sports, and outdoor recreation.  The limit is $5,000 in a single year.  The chapter is required to engage in a project of at least 3 years and with like-minded partners.
  • The Chapter as well as Chapter Sables Committees may apply for Education Sables grants.
  • Education Sables provide training for Chapter Education Committee Chairs and Chapter Sables Committee Representatives.  Training is a way to learn how to tap into grant programs and how to connect with education projects within a chapter community.
  • Hands On Wildlife Kits (conservation education in a box) are available to chapters to purchase at a reduced cost.  This is excellent teaching materials and curriculum to give to teachers, parks & recreation centers, state game & fish agencies education outreach, AWLS alumni and more.  The cost is $550.  Through a partnership with the Trappers’ Association we have been able to reduce the cost from $750 to $550.

Humanitarian Services

  • Raise funds to support chapters in humanitarian services related projects
  • Hunt for Warriors and Disabled Hunter grants provide up to $1,000 in support of chapter projects.   A chapter may qualify for up to a total of a combined $2,000 in fiscal year 2013.
  • Pathfinder Support Grant – beginning July 1, 2013 financial support for Hunt for Warriors, Disabled Hunter, Safari Wish and Veterans projects will be provided through the new Pathfinder Support Grant.  A chapter may qualify for up to $5,000 in a fiscal year.
  • Blue Bags – Safari Care:  Humanitarian Services loan Blue Bags to chapters for chapter members taking a Blue Bag along on their hunt to give to villagers in the hunting locale.  In 2013 through a Hunter Legacy 100 Fund grant chapters may apply for and take with them a HLF Blue Bag filled with medical and school supplies and many other items when a chapter member is taking a Blue Bag on behalf of the chapter to gift to those in need.
  • Promotion items are provided and available to chapters free of charge to use at Sensory Safari events.   Items include pencils, braille bracelets, colors, and a worksheet.

What Chapters do for SCI/F:

  • Serve as the local “face” of SCI/F
  • Recruiting and Retention
  • Fundraising
  • Perform the majority of our Conservation, Education, and Humanitarian Projects
  • Serve on the SCI Board
  • Provide innovative ideas and best practices
  • Provide dedicated “Safari-Clubbers” to rise through the ranks and lead the organization

Sports South LLC Donates $100,000 to SCI Foundation For Scouting Related Programs

Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) proudly announces a $100,000 gift from Sports South, LLC to execute youth programs for the Boy Scouts of America. Sport South LLC is the oldest and largest single-source U.S. distributor of firearms and ammunition.

“Sports South and the Dickson family have roots that go way back, both in the firearms industry and in scouting. We are excited to see Safari Club International Foundation so involved in responsively introducing youth to the shooting sports. We will bet our money any day on the SCI and the Boy Scouts of America to get the job done,” said Skipper Dickson, CEO of Sports South LLC.

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“Sports South and the entire Dickson family are turning heads within the hunting community with their donation to the SCI Foundation,” said SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer. “Their commitment and their dedication to the outdoors are reflected in this amazing gift. We are entrusted to deliver the highest quality outdoor education programs through our MOU with the Boy Scouts of America.”

BSA-logo2SCI-foundation-LogoThis generous gift will support a new partnership between SCI Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for conservation education.  The SCI Foundation, the BSA, and Sports South will create an optimal outdoor experience to increase the number of youth focusing on:  youth leadership and ethical behavior, outdoor and science-based experiential education, wildlife management and habitat conservation through activities that safely and responsibly convey the shooting sports and hunting traditions of America.

“SCI Foundation signed an MOU with the BSA in January during the inaugural fundraiser held outside of Reno, Nevada. We are proud of our partnership with the Boy Scouts, and I encourage any individual or business interested in youth engagement in outdoor education to work with us now, before another generation of outdoor enthusiasts is underserved,” concluded Hosmer.  “The Boy Scouts of America is proud to partner with the SCI Foundation to engage youth in the outdoors, and we applaud Sports South for supporting our joint venture.” said Stacy Huff, BSA Foundation Director.