After taking the Regional Director position for Michigan in 2021, I had a whole lot of uncertainties. How long would we have to wait before we could have an event because of COVID mandates? How many chapter volunteers would still be volunteering after not having an event for two years? Where do I even start?
Growing up in Michigan, I turned to my roots and with no active chapter in the area, home seemed like the perfect place to start. After calling past committee members, I was able to have an RMEF Life Member, Rex Leatrea, offer his services and continue to volunteer. Still needing additional support, I utilized social media, cold calling, and emails to put together a young crew of 30-somethings that had no clue what they were getting into. Despite lacking experience, each of them had a passion for the outdoors. I knew Rex was the lone tenured volunteer and could help share his past experiences towards turning this group into a successful chapter.
“My first thoughts were that the group’s energy was fantastic and where did all these people come from,” says Letrea. “We could have used them a few years ago!?”
With a little help and guidance, the River Raisin Committee was set, and their first banquet was scheduled for September along the shores of the river their chapter was named after. Their new chapter chair, Corey Bates, was excited for the chance to make an impact.
“This was a way to make sure that my two young boys would have the same opportunities in 10-20 years when they are old enough to go elk hunting. Having our banquet legitimized the efforts I wanted to be a part of,” says Bates.
Legitimize it they did! Their banquet had the highest attendance in chapter history, and they have their sights set on becoming the best chapter in the state of Michigan.
“The crew that we have assembled could be together not just for years but for decades,” Bates says.
With a great combination of the old guard and the new, the River Raisin Chapter looks to make a name for themselves not only in Michigan but across the country.
Clint Salisbury serves as RMEF Michigan regional director