AFI Q:1 Newsletter


Good morning, Armed Forces Initiative members, supporters, and subscribers. This is your Q:1 AFI Newsletter here to keep you informed on all the latest happenings in the BHA and AFI universe.

2023 Recap:

We introduced over 2,000 participants to the outdoors in over 140 events in 46 states! That is an incredible accomplishment and each of you should pat yourselves on the back if you were involved in any way, shape, or form. If you weren’t and you would like to be, there’s no time like the present. Your AFI Leadership team is dedicated to making it easier than ever to get involved.

My name is Dalton Wayne and I’m now your point of contact for any and all AFI communications needs, from social media to blog posts to this very newsletter. Reach out to me at [email protected] Read my bio and catch up on any other new board members since you last looked here:


From The Coordinator:

Thank you so much to Dalton Wayne for putting this together, I look forward to seeing the regular development and professionalization of this area of communication. Your entire leadership team is working their butts off to keep you all funded, fed, and happy doing the mission essential work. I know a lot of times it could seem like I am coming down on you. I am sorry for that. As a concept, and as an organization we are so close to breaking through to the next level of professionalism with this idea called Veterans Adjunct Outdoor Therapy. I had a conversation with BHA's new CEO Patrick Berry who was thrilled with the work of the Armed Forces Initiative. We talked about a lot, but he ended the conversation with “AFI has grown from 200 participants to 2000 participants in three years, tell me what you need to get to 20,000 participants a year in the next five years.” Patrick and I are aligned on this mission and the steps needed to reach our five-year goal. It's our job to find you the money to do what you do best and to support you in your roles on the ground. If you have any questions or comments or just want to talk, please give me a call or shoot me an email. 


-Trevor Hubbs [email protected]

Finance Update:

Thanks to Andrew Ruszkiewicz our treasurer over the past two years diligent management the Armed Forces Initiative is in a good place financially. Our extreme growth in the last three years has caused our budgetary needs to skyrocket. Ruszkiewicz has done a phenomenal job budgeting responsibly while allowing our volunteer leaders across the country and the world to host as many members of the military community at events as possible. That said our budget is still tight. The AFI leadership team is dedicated to not denying any volunteer led event and are willing to work collaboratively and creatively to help all our regional leaders plan and host amazing events. For more on Finance contact:

Andrew Ruszkiewicz - [email protected]

Book of the Month:

The Nick Adams Stories by Ernest Hemingway

AFI’s book of the month is a collection of short stories called The Nick Adams Stories by Ernest Hemingway. Nick Adams was a semi-autobiographical character that Hemingway created and wrote about all of his life. He appears in these stories as a child in the north woods of Michigan, as a young man during World War I, and as an older adult dealing with the aftermath of said war and his “shell shock,” a common early name for PTSD. Released posthumously in 1972, this collection is the first time the stories were released in chronological order according to Nick’s life, not as they were published by Hemingway. Pay close attention to the story “Big Two-Hearted River,” in which Nick turns to the outdoors in pursuit of solitude after returning from the front lines of the Great War. This story exudes the essence of the Armed Forces Initiative’s goal of providing veterans with outdoor adjunct therapy to enhance their spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being, all while providing them with a new mission in conservation. For a more in-depth review by our Communications Manager, Dalton Wayne, visit the link below, and be sure to subscribe to AFI’s YouTube channel.


Recent Event Recap:

 Nebraska AFI team hosted a learn-to-hunt waterfowl camp for ten members of the military community in December of 2023 with support from Boss Shot Shells. Each member left the camp with invaluable knowledge and goodie bag from BHA and Boss.


The New England AFI team also hosted a learn-to-hunt Dual Skills waterfowl camp in December of 2023. This event was also sponsored by Boss Shot Shells. The 25 veterans that attended this camp learned not only to hunt waterfowl and to conserve public lands, but how to process their take and cook a meal for their families.


Through the support of a generous private doner and G&H Decoys, AFI was able to take out eight disabled veterans and one active-duty service member for three days of waterfowl hunting in Oklahoma. The participants received a tour of G&H’s facilities as well as a dozen decoys to bring home to put to good use. Everyone who attended was instructed in calling and conservation as well as how to process ducks and cook a meal. We appreciate the support of both G&H Decoys as well as the private donor who made this trip possible.


Our AFI Coordinator, Trevor Hubbs, hosted a three-part virtual trapping class for AFI members in the months of January and February. In these classes, Trevor taught land-based trapping, water trapping, as well as best practices. Based on the success of these virtual events, we plan on doing many more in the future.


Upcoming Events:

The North Carolina AFI team is hosting a How-to- Hunt Turkey Dual skills camp in April! Learn how to identify turkey habitat, call in turkeys, decoy birds and more in western North Carolina.

AFI HQ will be hosting a three-part lunch and learn series on how to hunt Caribou in Alaska. Have you recently been stationed in Alaska? Have you always dreamt about hunting in Alaska but don't know where to start? Click the link below and RSVP!

In June, the Camp Lejeune team will host a learn-to-fish dual skills camp in New Bern, North Carolina.      


Note from the Chair:

This is my first newsletter submission as your 2024 Armed Forces Initiative Chair, first and foremost thank you to everyone that keeps this machine rolling down the tracks. It is ever apparent to me that those selfless volunteers spread across the country running events, mentoring the Military community, attending meetings in support of their parent state chapters, and developing our volunteer base are the life's blood of AFI. Your hard work does not go unnoticed and is truly appreciated. The AFI board’s charge is to help our Liaisons and clubs succeed, so please reach out to us for anything you may need.

BLUF for Q:1  Follow the process and if you don’t know the process just ask us, we are here to help you. Whether it is providing complete information on our pre-event request forms, the timeliness of submitting those forms or the required safety documents, how AFI engages with policy issues both at the state and national level, or the day-to-day churn on our social media platforms, JUST ASK US

-Shawn McCarthy, [email protected]


Thank You all  for your hard work and support!

About Dalton Wayne Hoover

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