BY W. Laird Hamberlin, SCI, SCIF CEO
It has been exciting this spring for me to be able to attend SCI Chapter functions throughout the U.S. and around the world — many of them for the first time since the COVID pandemic hit two years ago.
SCI Chapter banquet season is truly is a special time of the year. And for me, it really is an honor and privilege to be able to attend and speak at as many of these functions as possible.
Chapters are the backbone of SCI, and it is at their banquets that they really show their stuff, and where they raise the money needed to finance local, state, regional, national and international advocacy efforts to save hunting; as well as to finance critical, on-the-ground conservation projects.
These social settings also provide opportunities for members to gather, exchange hunting stories and be among like-minded folks. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Speaking of Chapters, they also represent one of the six pillars upon which the future of SCI and hunting rest: Chapters, Advocacy, Event Services (Convention), Membership, Conservation and Hunting.
We also can celebrate a major Advocacy victory in the U.S. where an anti-hunting item known as Section 436 in the appropriations package was removed from the language of the bill. Section 436 would have banned the importation into the U.S. of sport-hunted elephants or lions from Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Thanks to strong and consistent opposition from SCI, members of Congress and African wildlife officials, the appropriations package did not have Section 436 in it when it went to the president’s desk to be signed.
Meanwhile, on the business side of things, at the May Board of Directors meeting each year, SCI approves the budget that will help guide activities for the coming year. I am happy to report that SCI is in sound financial condition and is ready to face the challenges that will come our way in the future.
SCI’s volunteer leadership has done a great job of creating a meaningful long-range plan and then sticking to it.
The way SCI is structured, the volunteer leadership on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of that Board make the policies and we, at the professional staff level, implement those policies.
I am excited to be able to lead the professional staff during the upcoming fiscal year from July 1 through June 30 as we forge forward into what I am confident will be a bright future, both for the organization and for hunting itself.
Also this past spring, we were very busy wrapping up the details from the 2022 SCI Convention in Las Vegas while we are also getting ready for the 2023 SCI Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
I encourage all members to plan to attend the SCI Convention in the Music City, February 22-25, 2023. We are planning to have a total blowout there and put on the best SCI Convention ever — which is a tall order because SCI has had the best Conventions in the hunting world all along. See you in Nashville next February.