Youth being sought for club executive

The Meadow Lake Wildlife Federation held its annual awards banquet Feb. 15 at the Meadow Lake Civic Centre. Along with dinner, the event also featured both a live and silent auction, bucket draws, live music and served as a major fundraiser for the club. Here, club president Layne Shkopich (left) presents Lane Calvert with a plaque for catching a three-pound, two ounce walleye.

The Meadow Lake Wildlife Federation held its annual awards banquet Feb. 15 at the Meadow Lake Civic Centre. Along with dinner, the event also featured both a live and silent auction, bucket draws, live music and served as a major fundraiser for the club. Here, club president Layne Shkopich (left) presents Lane Calvert with a plaque for catching a three-pound, two ounce walleye.

by Phil Ambroziak

The Meadow Lake Wildlife Federation is hoping to snare a few younger members to join its club executive.

In spite of a strong showing of youth at the group’s annual awards banquet on Saturday (Feb. 15), club president Layne Shkopich said it has become increasingly difficult to attract new members to the executive.

“Overall, we have a lot of young club members because their parents will buy a family membership and will get everyone involved,” Shkopich said. “Our biggest struggle is the executive. A lot of our current members are done – they’ve served their time. But, it’s scary to think there’s no one interested in replacing them.”

Shkopich has served as club president for the past four years and said, because of his busy work schedule and responsibilities as a city councillor, he’s likely going to resign from the role this spring.

“It’s not that I don’t like doing it, but it’s getting to be too much,” he said.

Currently, there are between seven and 10 executive members who meet monthly to discuss wildlife federation business. Shkopich believes the difficulty in recruiting new members is simply a sign of changing times.

“Everyone sort of has his or her own opinion on it, but I believe people are just so much more busy now than they used to be,” he remarked. “There are so many extracurricular activities available for people, it’s tough for a lot of people to become involved.”

He remains optimistic, however, the right people are out there.

“Someone will eventually come along,” he said.

As for the banquet itself, Shkopich said it primarily serves as an opportunity for club members to get together, socialize and to be rewarded for their success from the previous hunting and fishing seasons. Club member Kurt Hadland agreed.

“It’s also a major fundraiser for the club,” Hadland said. “We hope to raise enough money to buy land to use for habitat trust. The banquet also gives the club a lot of exposure in the community and shares with people all the positive aspects of good, clean, fun living and taking care of the world around you.”

Money raised also goes toward funding youth firearms courses and other initiatives for young people.

Although still considered a success, Shkopich said fewer awards than usual were handed out at Saturday’s banquet.

“I’ve heard the long winter last year resulted in fewer animals out there to be hunted,” he said. “A lot of the veteran members, though, say it’s just the nature of the beast – there are good years and bad years.”

This year’s Meadow Lake Wildlife Federation award winners are: Female junior whitetail typical rifle, Ashley Toews, 136 6/8; male junior whitetail typical rifle, Lyndon Benz, 103 2/8; female whitetail typical rifle, Denise Toews, 144 4/8; male whitetail archery, Lyle Sheppard, 144 6/8; male whitetail rifle, Gerald Michel, 146 7/8; male elk typical rifle, Gerald Michel, 298 5/8; junior moose rifle, Ashley Toews, 53 1/8; junior black bear, Ashley Toews, 18 2/16; black bear rifle, Bob Etue, 21 14/16; black bear archery, Lee Bowerman, 21 8/16; northern pike, Lane Calvert, nine pounds four ounces; walleye, Lane Calvert, three pounds, two ounces; northern pike, Terry Calvert, 14 pounds, two ounces.

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