The Heart, Soul of SCI Is Its Members

By John McLaurin, SCI President

Originally published in the May/June 2024 Issue of Safari Magazine

Safari Club International needs you, the individual member, to help preserve hunting and wildlife! Yes, SCI has a great staff, but the staff can’t do it all. SCI members, chapters, exhibitors and friends carry a huge load in assuring SCI’s successes.

What SCI does or doesn’t do today will determine the future of hunting around the world. As daunting a challenge as that might seem, we can meet that challenge successfully if we act decisively, both individually and collectively.

If you want to be personally involved in saving hunting and preserving wildlife, then you can volunteer your time, effort and resources to the cause — to SCI. After all, SCI is much more than the small club that was created over 50 years ago. It truly is the largest professionally staffed, volunteer-led, pro-hunting and conservation organization the world has ever known.

At the core of SCI, its heart and soul are members who make SCI what it is. Structurally, SCI is comprised of members, Chapters, staff and institutional governing bodies. Together, these elements cover everything from local concerns and efforts to matters of global importance.

Members need to understand how SCI is configured so they can better see where they fit into the big picture. Importantly, SCI is governed by and led by volunteers.

Yes, SCI has a professional staff that takes care of the day-to-day business of SCI. But when it comes to the vision for the future and where SCI wants to go while realizing its mission, it is up to volunteer leaders.

Both SCI and hunting are under constant attack from anti-hunters. At the same time as we defend the freedom to hunt from those who strive to end all hunting everywhere in the world, SCI must do ev­erything it can to constantly further the interests of hunting and wildlife conservation around the world.

This calls for a lot of effort by a lot of people, all pulling in the same direction. It is volunteers who carry much of this load. In local communities in the U.S. and abroad, members and Chapters are the tip of the spear – the first to engage challenges.

To accomplish our strategic goals and realize our mission of protecting the freedom to hunt and promoting sustainable use wildlife conservation worldwide, we need volunteers to enlist in the cause.

SCI has many ways for members to volunteer. It starts at the Chapter level. I encourage all members to join at least one SCI Chapter and to volunteer to help that Chapter succeed.

Chapter Presidents comprise most seats on the SCI Board of Directors. Hence, Chapter involvement also can lead to larger roles in the highest levels of SCI leadership. At the SCI national Board of Directors level are also the Regional Representatives and the Direc­tors-At-Large, as well as the corporate officers and vice presidents.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors is comprised of 11 volunteer leaders: President, President-Elect, Corporate Secretary, Corporate Treasurer, six Vice Presidents and the Sables President. Many of these are elected at the SCI Board meeting in May in Washington, D.C.

Additionally, there are other volunteer positions each year on SCI committees and at our Convention in Nashville. These volunteers help make SCI and the SCI Convention the preeminent leader in the world today, preserving our hunting heritage and wildlife conservation.

The point is that members who want to become involved have many ways to do so. Again, I encourage all members to consider ways you can volunteer to help SCI and to help protect hunting and wildlife.

Volunteer positions necessarily require time and effort for sure. But every minute of volunteer time really does matter to the future of hunting.

I ask all members to think about how you can volunteer and contribute to the success of SCI. Remember, you can contact your local Chapter to volunteer there. You can contact SCI Headquarters to be con­sidered for open spots in committees by use of the Committee Request Form, which can be found on the SCI website.

There are already a lot of great volunteers who have served selflessly for many years. They have helped raise SCI to its current level of the best pro-hunting, pro-wildlife conservation organization in the world.

I want to call them out at all levels of SCI to thank them for their dedicated service. They are SCI and SCI is them. They live and breathe SCI every day, 24/7. They always ask what they can do for SCI, not the opposite.

I said it at the beginning of this article. They are the heart and soul of SCI! Join them! Be part of SCI as it rises to new heights every day on behalf of hunters and wildlife everywhere.

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