April 23, 2021
I, Michael Mansell, am now President of the M.H.E.I.A. This transfer of leadership took place during the Board meeting, held April 15th via conference call. I take over the reins of leadership from Frank Powers, who is now spending more time with his wife and family. He has done an outstanding job for the Association over the years and will be sorely missed. He will still be around to help now and then, and to help guide me through this transitional period. Thank you, Frank, for all you have done.
The reason for this letter to all members is this: We have come to a point in the life of the Association where we must change the direction of where we are headed if our Association is to survive. A vote was taken at our past conference the end of March, on whether to disband the Association, and the vote was unanimous that we continue the M.H.E.I.A. With that being said, we must look at some of the viable options that are open to us. Although some H.E. classes are still being conducted, most of us are simply volunteers. Like it or not, the computer age has caught up to us.
- Take time to meet with your local MDC Conservation Educator in your region and find out what is happening in your area, then volunteer to help. Just this past weekend, I helped with a snagging clinic in Warsaw, demonstrating how to clean spoonbill. I not only met some great folks, but I earned volunteer hours.
- Check with your regional hunting clubs or organizations such as National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, and even the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Chapters. These groups are always needing volunteers to help, whether it be in the field or setting up a banquet or meeting. Many times, these organizations put on hunts where they need mentors. Who better than a H.E. instructor, and again, you earn hours. I believe we as the Association can provide a service to these organizations by providing mentors or volunteers.
- Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC). I have been involved with YHEC since 1994, and this is an amazing program for youth. Due to COVID, computers and PlayStations, and the lack of advertising, the number of participants has dropped dramatically. I would like the Association to take a more active role in YHEC, whether it be at the organizational level or by providing volunteers to help at the events. YHEC needs coaches and volunteers to create teams, and at the same time, you get to meet folks from all over the state. It would be nice to see a team from each region that we have directors in. The YHEC program is an excellent way for H.E. instructors to practice what we teach, and to put it to good use for the youngins. Also, again, you earn volunteer hours.
- MDC also helps with many programs such as the annual trapshooting event in Linn Creek (MO NASP – National Archery in the Schools Program), the archery event held in Branson, Missouri at the Branson Convention Center. These folks are always looking for volunteers. Again, you earn hours.
- 4-H programs are in every region. When working or volunteering for 4-H, you might have to go through a background check, just like MDC. A lot of the events go hand in hand with YHEC.
Membership — We must increase our membership for the Association to survive. A great many of us are getting really old, including me. We must have younger folks to join our association to take our places as Directors, Deputy Directors, and members when the time comes. This new younger generation will bring new ideas to the table, as well as helping to re-invent the Association as we move ahead into the future. New members do not have to be instructors, as long as they enjoy the outdoors and are willing to work with others to preserve our hunting heritage. I would like to see every director bring in five new members and each member bring in one new member. With hard work and determination, we can accomplish this goal.
I cannot emphasize this enough; we need new members!!! The Association needs the Directors, Deputy Directors and members to reach out to those non-member instructors with an application to join us. Even if they do not join, ask why not? Get their input and ideas of what we can do to encourage them. We must exchange idea’s so we can move forward and survive as an association. Remember this is your Association.
Folks, we can do this if we put our minds to it and share ideas that will benefit our association, and at the same time, what the Association can do for others, like-minded as we are, on furthering our hunting and shooting sports programs. There are folks out there willing to help us out as an association, but first we must help ourselves establish a new direction.
I have been a H.E. instructor since 1993 and have had a good time teaching classes. It is what we all love to do. Now is the time for us to come together, take a deep breath, and make a fresh start. Let us move forward together, share ideas of how we can make this association the best it can be, and be proud of our accomplishment.
May this find everybody in good health,
Michael Mansell, President