Although one of the purposes of The Ottawa Sportsmen's Club is to safeguard our Constitution's Second Amendment, we are not a militant organization. However, to not address the heinous and senseless attack on our nation this past September would be irresponsible in this annual newsletter.
Freedom does not come without a price. Nor do the unalienable rights of the American people. The entitlement to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness may be a birthright, but there is no warranty with this entitlement.
These facts were made abundantly clear by the horrific acts of terrorism on September 11th 2001 and may have served as a wake up call to the citizens of our great nation to come out from under the warm and comfortable blanket of complacency. The United States was attacked, but so was Freedom and all it stands for. On that sunny day in September, many of us began to realize just how much we had begun to take for granted.
It was said at one of our recent meetings that due to the events of September 11th, it is now considered "politically correct" to own, keep and bear arms. It's pretty sad testimony to realize that our country had almost come to disregard and allow the restructuring of one of the constitutional rights of United States citizens prior to the atrocity most of us witnessed on television that September day; sadder yet that it took an act of terrorism to prevent it.
At the expense of "sounding" militant, it should be said that each of us who believes Americans should have the right to own, keep and bear arms must remain vigilant to new gun law legislation that would restrict this constitutional right or eliminate it altogether. Individually, we can do little to prevent this. But, as a sportsmen's group, we can do much.
Please keep this in mind when you are writing out your check for your annual dues. The Ottawa Sportsmen's Club needs each and every member to help safeguard the Second Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America. We need to do this for ourselves, for our children and for our children's children.
THE 40TH YEAR IN REVIEW
Well, gosh folks, WE must be doing something right! It's been said that there were only a "handful" of members when the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club was born in 1961 through the consolidation of the Wolverine Sportsmen and the Laird Conservation Clubs, which had been in existence since the late 1930's and early 1940's.
However, when Russ Weisinger turned over the Presidential gavel to Emil Filpus at our December meeting, he remarked about the phenomenal growth the O.S.C. has experienced over the past few years in terms of membership. Over forty new members have been welcomed to the club during each of the past two years and if this trend continues, we'll have exceeded a membership of 400 by the end of 2002. This seems like a good goal to set, eh?
Our 40th year turned out to be a great one. The enthusiasm and volunteerism that we wrote about last year remained at an all time high. Attendence at meetings was up. And, when the call for help with work bees went out, the response was terrific. We did lots of great things for the youth in our area, too, and were still able to donate $1,000.00 to the Baraga Fire Department to help purchase a cold water rescue raft.
Those who live in the area may have read in the L'Anse Sentinel about all our activities, but those whom this newsletter will reach may not. This reporter has lauded the club's accomplishments to the point of becoming obnoxious, but hopes all will bear with hearing about them once again. WE have earned the right to feel proud of our Ottawa Sportsmen's Club and all that we've helped to accomplish during our 40th year.
WE were a busy group during the spring, summer and fall. The log clubhouse was caulked and resealed with a fresh bright coat of protection, a new parking area was made across the highway from the club, the indoor pistol range got a new cement floor, the outdoor range was made handicapped accessible with more cement work and special shooting benches, another new sidewalk was laid to the barbeque pit, the old metal entry way was replaced with an attractive entry enclosure, and just recently more work has begun to build shelves and cabinets in the storage room so we can organize all of our valuable "junque".
WE held our Annual Gun & Knife Show, Wild Game Feed, Family Picnic, Turkey Shoot, Sight-In Days and Venison Booyaw. Attendence at these events was at an all time high, with the 40th Annual Turkey Shoot far exceeding all expectations of success. Thousands of people passed through our doors in 2001.
WE continued our Roadside Clean-Up in conjunction with MDOT, picking up litter from two miles of the M-38 roadside once each during the summer, spring and fall and found ourselves at the last clean-up with more volunteers than "window waste". That was just terrific and probably happened because we made this fun instead of work.
WE provided several classroom subscriptions to "Tracks" magazine, an educational tool used to help students learn about our natural resources and the need to protect them. WE donated the use of our property to students for ecological fieldwork studies, for Hunter Safety class, and for the Boy Scout's Winter Survival experience. During the Hunter Safety class, a group of our members was on hand to volunteer help with range instruction.
WE provided a team of instructors to lead an after school B.B. Gun Club at the Baraga Elementary School and provided funding for several area school libraries to add to their natural resources section. WE awarded a scholarship to a graduating senior who chose to work toward a career in the field of conservation.
WE applied the skill and patience of several members to offer a week long Shooting Sports Camp to sixteen area youth so that they could learn how to handle firearms safely and accurately. And, during the last month of 2001, WE approved the use of grant money to provide 30 pair of quality snowshoes for the sixth grade section of the L'Anse Elementary School so that youngsters can continue their ecology studies with a "hands on" experience during the winter months.
WE continued to offer our Wednesday Night Trap Shoot each week from May through September to our members and to the public. Many of our area youth also enjoyed this experience. In addition, WE began a weekly Tuesday evening Pistol Shoot for the public as well as members. O.S.C. instructors were available to help all who needed it.
WE selectively logged part of our Courtney Lake property with the proceeds earmarked for future campground and picnic area improvement. WE donated the use of our range to local law enforcement and the use of our club for a fundraiser for a cancer patient. The Baraga County Fair Board was also given use of the club for its fair dances.
WE also developed our own website at www.ottawasportsmen.org last summer. As of this writing, over 1,800 people have visited the O.S.C. site to learn more about our club and what we're up to as a sportsmen's group. Our web address will be published monthly in the Michigan Out-Of-Doors Magazine beginning this February. A newsletter, similar to this one, but "newsier", is published once a month on the site to keep our members up to date on our activities. Information on our history, programs, committees and events, along with many pictures of our members, can be found quickly on the web and E Mail contact is available immediately through the site for questions or more information.
Even though some of you live far away and seldom visit the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club, you're just as much a part of our achievements as you would be if you lived close by. These achievements are the result of the collective effort of all members through their continued financial support as well as through their physical presence. Without all of you, WE would be less productive and less effective in fulfilling the purposes of the O.S.C. We are very thankful for your membership and for your continued support.
SO WHERE'S THE MAGIC?
"Ain't No Hokus Pokus At The O.S.C.!!!"
The success of The Ottawa Sportsmen's club doesn't involve magic at all. Nor is magic involved in the success of our many projects and events. The only sure-fire recipe we have is a supportive membership who will volunteer to help out occasionally, a membership with an enthusiastic and positive attitude, and a membership who doesn't get bogged down in the time worn dictates of "we always did it this way before".
What we have is a corps of hard working selfless individuals who are willing to take the bull by the horns and get the job done. These people will often toss out an idea, mull it over, and when they're through chewing and spitting, they have a pretty good plan. By then, their contagious enthusiasm has spread so that others want to jump in and get involved with the planning and preparation for an activity or to help out on the day of an event
We're also lucky in that, if we need an electrician, we can find a member to fit the bill. Need a plumber? We got one! Need a public speaker, a forestry expert, attorney, accountant, heavy equipment operator, fishery and wildlife biologist, or chief cook and bottle washer? Well, hey, we got them and more! We've even got experts who are experts at being experts!!!
Quite often, some of these people can be found at the club late in the afternoon or early evening having a gabfest or getting together to share a snack, a potluck dish or play cards. Some are club officers and some aren't, but all have proved to be shakers and movers when it comes to getting a job done. Those who can't shake real well or move too fast prove valuable as problem solvers when it comes to the logistics of developing a plan of action.
These people have made new members and their families feel welcome, have encouraged them to attend meetings and to become involved with club activities. Too often, with other clubs, you find a "clique" who resents the intrusion of new people. Fortunately, the O.S.C. has moved beyond this narrow-mindedness and has realized the value of new ideas and new hands to help. We know there's always room for more of both.
ALL MEMBERS WELCOME
No Special Engraved Invitation Needed
In order for this positive trend in enthusiasm and volunteerism to continue, we must keep the lines of communication open among our members in between membership meetings. We've been able to do that during the past couple of years through the social interaction maintained by the gathering of members on many late afternoons or evenings on an almost daily basis. This is not a private party. In fact, it's no party at all, though we will occasionally share a platter of chicken wings or a birthday cake if one of us should feel like bringing something. There is often a great deal of lively conversation and many excellent ideas for club events or housekeeping improvements are developed as a result of this informal interaction. Many members will bring along a guest, and the guest, liking the offer of friendship he receives, will quite often fill out a membership card.
Through this newsletter, all members are being notified that they are most welcome to stop by the club and join in any unstructured social membership gathering when they see cars in the parking lot. Most of these get-togethers are spontaneous and impossible to advertise. However, that doesn't mean members aren't welcome to come in and sit a spell or share whatever vittles are on hand. When there's a private rental, a sign is posted outside and entry does require an invitation. When there's a formal club function, such as the Wild Game Feed or Booyaw, it will have been publicized in The L'Anse Sentinel, on the web site or aired on Eagle Country 105.7.
We'd really like to encourage any and all members and their guests to stop in whenever possible. It's fun to get to know more about one another and quite often, good and lasting friendships are made. Hope to see you soon!!!
"HEAR YE! HEAR YE! HEAR YE!"
New Slate Of Officers Elected
While we have a new slate of officers for the year 2002, we've basically had a restructuring with various officers moving to different positions. Mike Harkonen and Ron Moilanen are two newcomers to the Board of Directors. While they may be new to the Board, they're not new to the O.S.C. and both are very well known for their dedication and hard work on behalf of the club over the years. Mike is our Trap Range Committee Chairman and has spent a zillion Wednesday nights at the range. Ron has been Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, Annual Wild Game Feed, and Family Picnic and also has provided pre-meeting steak feeds since anyone can remember.
Mike Harkonen and Ron Moilanen join Ed Fugenschuh, Ron Haka, Bob Hietikko, Dick Hiltunen, Irv Santti, Russ Weisinger and Mike Williams as Board of Director members who will be led by President Emil Filpus. Joe Dyke was elected as Vice President. Ron Kamarainen and Mike Faucher remain as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. Jack Lehto has become our Sergeant at Arms.
President Filpus hopes to have a few more structured social activities for members this year beginning with a Valentine's Dinner Dance on February 9th. Plans are being made for a prime rib dinner with details to be announced later. Reservations will be mandatory by February 6th. Please watch the L'Anse Sentinel, our Website newsletters or tune in to 105.7 on your radio for details on this party as they become available. More information on all O.S.C. events can be had by calling 338-2507 or E-Mailing the public relations committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's all get together behind our Officers and Board of Directors and give them 100% of our support as we move into a brand new year! This will ensure a successful 2002 for the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club!!!
Sincerely, Carole Williams, Club Reporter
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