There sure is a lot of gray hair. I just attended a recent habitat dedication with my family and the first thing my boys stated when we got into the car was, “Wow, everyone is so old!” Of course to them, 30 is old, but the boys are right, besides my wife and I only one other couple was there that was under the age of 50. I work with many conservation and hunting organizations throughout Montana and Unfortuantely, I see a lot of gray hair and very few people under 40.
Recently, as reported in the Billings Gazette, a survey was conducted and the findings showed a 9% increase in hunting, 11% increase in fishing and 36% of Americans participate in outdoor recreational activities. Yet, very few volunteer to ensure that their outdoor passion and our hunting legacy will be there in the future. In fact only 2.3% of our population volunteers for conservation organizations and 3.8% for shooting sports, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics (9/2011)
The #1 reason I hear when a person is asked to volunteer is “I am too busy”. If you are passionate about the outdoors, hunting and/or the shooting sports,..You shound NEVER be too busy. If you think that someone else will do it, you are terriably mistaken as the culture of our country shifted from a “Best for Us” culture to a “Best for Me” culture and a lack of responsability. So, if you are concerned,..complain about the current outdoors situations,…then time to do something about it and introduce others including our youth. Introducing youth and young adults to giving back and volunteering, will improve self esteem and a sense of responsibilty. Self esteem will come from being a part of something important, accomplishment and the importance of teamwork.
If you enjoy the outdoors it is time to give back by volunteering with an organziation whose mission is to ensure conservation, shooting sports, outdoors and our hunting legacy. What a great way to bond with your family and create family memories that benefit what we are passionate about for future generations. But, if you are going to leave it to the gray hairs because you are too busy, the future of conservation, hunting and other outdoor activites will die with them.
Marshall Johnson, Regional Director – Mule Deer Foundation.