BHA hosted over 30 college students at this year's North American Rendezvous in Missoula, Montana--all of whom either lead or participate in a BHA club at their university. With representatives from the University of Idaho, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Washington State University, University of Montana, Montana State University, Montana Tech, and Indiana State University, this year was a memorable one.
Chapter Leader Trap Shoot
Students started the weekend at the Missoula Trap and Skeet Club for the chapter leader trap shoot hosted by Beretta. Along with other BHA chapter and club leaders from across the country, they put their shooting skills to the test. Reece from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point won a custom, BHA-embroidered competition shooting vest and bragging rights for his first place finish.
Chapter Leader Training
Following the trap shoot, students participated in 4 hours of chapter leader training covering topics such as event planning, fundraising, and policy engagement. This training was a chance to learn from seasoned BHA leaders and staff and take valuable knowledge and ideas back to their clubs for the coming years.
Field to Table Dinner
Students finished the day by donning their best western semi-formal attire and volunteering at our 7th annual Field to Table dinner. Serving guests, busing tables, cleaning dishes, and helping staff, they came together to make the night a success. We surprised graduating senior club presidents Rebekah, Harrison, and Nicole with a seat at the dinner as a reward for their years of service to the program.
Breakfast with BHA Leadership and Wild Game Cookoff
On Saturday morning, students had breakfast with BHA CEO and President, Land Tawney, and members of the North American Board before heading over the watch the Wild Game Cookoff. Adorned with cheeseheads and Packers jerseys, club leaders Harrison Stasik and Cordell Stanek represented Wisconsin and the Collegiate Program in the cookoff. They whipped up fried cheese curds, wild turkey kabobs, and maple bourbon barbeque venison burgers for their "Tales from the Tailgate" themed meal. We also spotted Northern Arizona University club advisor, Wolf Gumerman, competing on behalf of the Arizona chapter!
Saturday afternoon, we celebrated University of Wisconsin Stevens Point club president, Harrison Stasik, as he received this year's Rachel L. Carson award that recognizes an emerging leader in conservation. After over two years of service to his club and the program, he graduated in December with a degree in Wildlife Ecology. We also recognized the recipient of our 3rd BHA scholarship at the University of Louisville, political science student Angela Olson.
As BHA staff cleaned up the remnants of the weekend on Sunday morning, the remaining students took in a farewell view of Missoula on a hike of the "M." The group has since started their own Snapchat group to keep in touch--we hear future trips and hunts are already being planned.
Rendezvous offers the unique opportunity for student leaders to come together in what can sometimes feel like lonely and difficult work--running a university club is no easy task. The chance to spend a weekend with the BHA community serves to spur ideas, create friendships, and ignite passions to continue their work for our public lands.