By W. Laird Hamberlin
When my children were young, they related the SCI Convention with what was going on in their own lives. And since the Convention happened at about the same time as their spring breaks in school, they called the SCI Convention “Daddy’s spring break.”
Kids are amazing. They can take even the most complicated things and describe them in just a few short words that are more descriptive than volumes of learned adult explanations. For them, spring break meant freedom from everyday schooling, so why wouldn’t Daddy’s break from his job to go have fun with other hunters also be a spring break? Makes sense to me.
Our annual SCI Convention — our spring break — is right around the corner, Jan. 31 through Feb. 3, in Nashville. I invite all members to join me for what promises to be a great time.
Recent surveys indicate that the prime reason many members attend the Convention is to socialize with old friends and to meet new friends. Certainly, those are important. But there are many more reasons why the SCI Convention should be considered a “can’t-miss” event.
There are auctions, both day and night, where hunts and gear to use on them for any game species in the world go to the highest bidder.
Of course, there is the main show floor where hundreds of merchants, guides and outfitters in their booths offer their goods and services in a personalized, one-on-one setting.
There are seminars where experts educate members about how to do everything from improve their shooting to things to consider when planning for a first safari. The word safari means journey and it doesn’t have to be a safari to Africa, but to another city, county, state or continent, not just Africa.
Evening events and entertainment cap off each day during Convention. Awards ceremonies and musical entertainment make the evening activities both exciting and fun.
And this year, there is a special treat Thursday evening when Jason Aldean will perform at the Bridgestone Arena just across the street from the convention center.
Other evening entertainment includes the band 38 Special on Wednesday, Big & Rich on Friday and Foreigner on Saturday.
Beyond all the fun at Convention, there is a serious side, as well. The Convention is where SCI raises a significant amount of money to fund mission programs. That’s how we pay for the advocacy efforts to protect hunting and sustainable use wildlife conservation programs.
Convention (under the Event Services umbrella) is one of the six pillars upon which the future of hunting and SCI rest. The other pillars are Advocacy, Chapters, Hunting, Membership and Conservation.
It is impossible for me to overstate the importance and enjoyment of the SCI Convention. For members who come every year, I look forward to seeing you again. For members who never have attended the SCI Convention, this is the year to go and learn why it is that members return year after year.
See you all in Nashville Jan. 31 through Feb. 3.
W. Laird Hamberlin is the CEO of Safari Club International and Safari Club International Foundation.