https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/statewide-volunteer-gatherings/

Statewide RMEF volunteer events take place across the country. These gatherings help unite volunteers within a state and are great networking and learning opportunities for those who take part. Below, we will take a closer look at events being conducted in some states and share what opportunities and ideas are worth exploring.

State/Regional Workshop

State and regional workshops allow volunteers and staff to gather and learn about various topics specific to the needs of those participants. These annual volunteer gatherings should consist of training, motivating, leading, educating and sharing wins and accomplishments, awards and recognition, as well as team building. State leaders can invite select chapter leaders or key volunteers to attend these workshops. For example, there are several states that invite chapter chairs and co-chairs to attend, but in other cases any volunteer can attend. Many states hold these workshops either early or late in the banquet year, while others hold their meetings mid-year along with a rendezvous or work project.

Below are some ideas to present and discuss during these workshops:

  • Mission updates
  • New fundraising ideas
  • Set goals for your state
  • Share chapter and volunteer success
  • State chapter award presentations- set criteria and present awards for specific categories
  • Build relationships and network with fellow chapters and volunteers
Rendezvous

A state rendezvous is a great opportunity to gather volunteers for a fun and productive weekend. It may be best described as an RMEF camping weekend with some fun, food, meetings and built-in celebrations. These can be planned as free for attendees, or if necessary, for a small registration fee. The locations for a rendezvous can also vary greatly. At times, some are held on public land at an undeveloped site. At other times, a more established facility like a rural fairground or buildings can be rented or used. A sample agenda for a rendezvous is below:

Friday Evening: Attendee arrival

  • Welcome BBQ dinner
  • Cornhole tournament

Saturday

  • Work project
  • Volunteer roundtable meeting
  • Presentations by volunteers and staff
  • Mission updates
  • Presentations from state or local agency contacts

Saturday Night Fun Night:

  • Raffles and silent auction (to help cover rendezvous cost)
  • Potluck or dessert competition
  • Special presentations

A rendezvous is a great opportunity to gather volunteers for a fun weekend together. The relationships built and things that are learned can be beneficial for all who attend. 

 

Work Projects

RMEF work projects are a great opportunity to get volunteers in the field and give them a chance to make a direct, mission-related impact. Work projects may take place in elk country but do have to be limited to those locations. There are projects that can be conducted in non-elk states and areas that benefit other wildlife. Not only do work projects bring volunteers together, but they are also an opportunity to bring in new volunteers.

Some examples of work projects are:

  • Fence removal
  • Trailhead maintenance or cleanup
  • Wildlife management area maintenance
  • Tree planting
  • Conifer encroachment removal
  • Removing abandoned junk or old buildings
  • Noxious weed removal
  • Wildlife-friendly fence building
  • Building water developments for wildlife
  • Public land gun range cleanup

RMEF has tools and processes available through EMS to help promote and recruit volunteers to those work projects. By doing this, work projects will also be listed on rmef.org/volunteer.

Conclusion:

Statewide volunteer gatherings offer an opportunity to bring volunteers together. Anytime we can strengthen relationships among chapters and volunteers within the state, doing so will help educate, inspire and energize staff and volunteers to do more for the mission.

 

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