"My father always made time to take my brother and me hunting and fishing, and as a family we took several camping trips during the year. These were some of the best memories I have as a child and young adult. I had the opportunity to learn a great deal about myself, my father, and life in general which I cherish and reflect upon to this day.
My father was diagnosed with a terminal illness in 1997. Early the next year they moved to Las Cruces where they made a wonderful home. One day in late 2000, after a visit with my dad, I began to reflect on the days in the field and decided I would like to give a young person the same opportunity to enjoy the outdoors as my father had done with me. After visiting with a few friends and sharing my thoughts, they were eager to help and possibly sponsor a youth themselves. Well, this was the beginning thoughts of forming a club to affect several young people throughout the community. A club such as this might give kids an opportunity to learn about and enjoy the outdoors, which they may not have otherwise. During the next several months I began to talk to more people who had knowledge in forming clubs and the rest is history.
My father passed away in early 2002 after a wonderful life with his family and a smile on his face. I had to believe he knew his work was done by leaving behind a legacy of self-confidence, trustworthiness, knowing the value of your word and a handshake, and a family who will never forget the love in his heart. I couldn't be more proud of what my good friends and I were able to accomplish and that dad was able to see and enjoy what his spirit will carry on. He is such an inspiration to me and I will always try to pass on some of the lessons of the field to the youth I meet."
The club began in early 2001 and held its first meeting at the Buffalo Hunter in Mesilla Park, south of Las Cruces. The attendance was good with 9 members and 6 parents. We are now entering our 7th year and are proud to say we have touched the lives of many young people who have participated in over 250 hunts and fishing trips throughout New Mexico, Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas. We are also proud to say that several of these youngsters have become leaders in their schools and their communities.
"We have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. This is largely due to a group of friends and fellow board members: Jan Kemp, Jerry Adams, H.B. Wagner, Scott Wagner, Roger DiCamillo, David Gomez, Cathy Clayshulte, and Jim Bates. My mother Jan, brother Dar and his wife Linda have been tremendous financial supporters without which our reach would have been limited. What a job we can accomplish as a village!"