Elk NetworkLead Volunteers Focus on RMEF’s Mission

Volunteer News | August 20, 2012

Lead Volunteers Focus on RMEF’s Mission

By Denny Radocha, Chairman, State & Regional Chairs

Refining the state grant program, increasing the readership of Wapiti Wire and reviewing last year’s financial and on-the-ground accomplishments were just a few of the topics covered at the 2010 State and Regional Chairs Meeting held in Reno on
March 3.

Every year on the day before Elk Camp opens, lead volunteers from around the country gather to discuss where RMEF has been and where it is headed. The meeting isn’t just a “rah rah” session, but involves serious discussions about the issues involving and facing RMEF. The day is broken up into three segments: the regional chairs’ meeting, new state chair orientation and state chairs’ meeting. Here are a few highlights of this year’s gathering:

Regional Chairs’ Meeting
The regional chairs kicked off the meeting by reviewing RMEF’s mission and the highlights from 2009, and discussing the issues facing volunteers in the coming year. To help make fundraising events more efficient, the group committed to improving communications between staff and volunteers. They also brainstormed ways to improve the process and content of future volunteer seminars held at Elk Camp. Finally, they had a lively discussion regarding the state grant process, deciding in the end that lead volunteers and staff would review the current program and draft clear guidelines for submitting and approving state grants before the end of the year. 

New State Chair Orientation
During the new state chair orientation, regional and experienced state chairs offered “real-world” advice to help give new chairs a leg up in handling their new roles. Topics included practical survival tips, the “Top 10” things a new state chair should know, how to use the volunteer intranet and how to form and lead a state leadership team. 

State Chair Meeting
The day came to a close with the full state chair meeting, where all the lead volunteers gathered to receive updates from staff and volunteers and learn about new opportunities and upcoming programs. This year’s topics included explaining the plan to review and clarify the state grant program, reviewing the appointment and reappointment processes for state chairs, discussing the recently revised state chair position description and explaining the state and regional chair self-evaluation processes.

The full meeting was also an opportunity to celebrate RMEF accomplishments. Al Christopherson, director of habitat stewardship services, offered a presentation on the stewardship program, highlighting various contracts RMEF has entered into with the Forest Service to improve wildlife habitat. Chief financial officer Lori Parker and controller Doug Green provided updates on 2009 financial accomplishments and demonstrated how well RMEF did despite a significantly downturned economy. The meeting ended with director of conservation programs, Tom Toman, giving am energetic and inspiring mission accomplishment update.  Seeing images of elk country protected and enhanced with help from RMEF’s hard-working volunteers is a real “payday” to our volunteers!

RMEF volunteers know the mission is vitally important—these folks live and breathe the need to ensure our wildlife heritage for future generations. When the State and Regional Chairs Meeting ends, a surge in the passion, dedication and energy among the volunteers in the room is palpable. You can feel it, touch it and nearly taste it.

Thank you RMEF volunteers, for all you do for elk country!