The Billings Outpost

If you care, volunteer

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 unfortunately, 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 percent increase in hunting and 11 percent increase in fishing, and 36 percent 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 percent of our population volunteers for conservation organizations and 3.8 percent for shooting sports, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The No. 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 should NEVER be too busy. If you think that someone else will do it, you are terribly mistaken as the culture of our country shifted from a “Best for Us” culture to a “Best for Me” culture and a lack of responsibility.

So, if you are concerned, complain about the current outdoors situations, then take 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 responsibility. 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 organization 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 activities will die with them.

Marshall Johnson

Mule Deer Foundation

Billings

Copyright 2012 Wild Raspberry Inc.

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