Safari Club International-The Influence of a Lifetime

By Vicki Swan, Sables President

As we get older, we sometimes reflect on what has influenced our lives. One of the greatest influences of my life has been my involvement in SCI.

Back in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s, my husband, Bill, and I,  had a small local limited-edition print/original art publishing business and decided to exhibit at the SCI Convention in Las Vegas. There we met an Alaskan artist who signed with our company and became our bestselling artist.

For several years in the early ‘80’s we exhibited original artwork at the SCI Convention. We published the 1983 Game Conservation Print that benefited the “soon to be built” International Wildlife Museum based in Tucson, AZ.

Our association with that Alaskan artist led to many trips to Alaska, and we even owned property there for a while. If we had not met her at SCI, we would not have had the opportunity to spend as much time in Alaska and grow our business into a national company. Because of that meeting we traveled all over the USA promoting our business.

My husband Bill was one of the founding members of the now defunct Middle Tennessee SCI Chapter. On one of the dove shoots they had, I brought our new golden retriever and introduced her to the hunt. I found that I enjoyed working the dog more than the hunting and decided to train her for hunting. That led to my later career as a retriever trainer. I had the opportunity to own, breed and train some of the best hunting golden retrievers in the country. I was able to spend all day outdoors doing what I loved, thanks to that hunt.

Fast forward several years. The Middle Tennessee chapter had dissolved and we had closed our art business. Our involvement in SCI was on the back burner. Then my husband Bill became one of the founding members of the Chattanooga Chapter of SCI (now Tennessee Valley).

He began going to the SCI Convention again – as an attendee, not as an exhibitor. For the first few years I accompanied him and just walked around the show floor. It seemed like he knew everyone and often stopped to talk to other attendees.

I got tired of standing around and was frankly a little bored. Bill was on the SCI Membership Committee, and he got one of the Sables ladies to ask me to help sign-up new Sables members at the Sables booth. I had a lot of fun and met a lot of great volunteers, but for the next few years I still just volunteered at Convention and attended the occasional in-person meeting.

Then a good friend who was a Sables Director announced that she was running for Sables Treasurer and urged me to run for Director. My Sables journey continued from there. When she ran for Vice President, I ran for Treasurer and won. I made so many new friends and met so many other attendees that my husband often waited on me while I talked with other Sables members. How the tables had turned!

During this period, my husband and I became members of the Humanitarian Services and Veterans Committees. I took a couple of years off from Sables to concentrate on Humanitarian Services goals.

I realized, though, that I missed the companionship and dedication of Sables. I missed working with other like-minded women for a common goal (education). I decided to run for Director again to support my good friend Spencie Netschert in her Presidency.

Then the next year I became Vice President and am now President. I still work in our eBay business that we now run, but most of my other hours are dedicated to Sables and SCI business. I am excited to be able to help return the influences SCI and Sables has had on my life by having a part in influencing the future of SCI and SCIF Sables.

These are exciting times for SCI and SCIF. Under the leadership of our CEO Laird Hamberlin, we are growing and spreading our message to an even wider segment of the population. Sables is at the forefront of getting that message out.

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