While we all face a global pandemic, and for many that are experiencing the darkest days of our downturn time in the economy or difficult times with our personal health, there must always be hope! Whatever the outcomes of the uncertainties we all face, we know we will survive and eventually be ok. We know this because history has proven this time and time again! So, I submit to you there are things to be encouraged by. Let me explain…
Here in Conservation Education, we have experienced many times through our 56-year history about the need to prevail against great odds. When we are facing our darkest days, HOPE is what will get us through. HOPE in times of crisis is something we all need. While I wish I could place a simple icon here on this page that you could press for HOPE … I can’t!
But maybe I can help you see and discover HOPE for yourselves. Remember that HOPE isn’t completely removing the risks we face or removing anxiety and uncertainty. It is the choice to see beyond the circumstances we are in and to see something better ahead!
I am encouraged, thankful and am given the gift of HOPE from the following recent occurrences:
- The Creative Generosity of the donor who took a small percentage of sales on each over-the-counter-product for a short period, then pooled that capital to send us a cheque with a note of appreciation and expression of gratefulness to our cause for giving their children HOPE! We should be thanking them for the opportunity to do what we do to make that difference!
- The Inspirational Volunteerism to the volunteer who participated in a recent shooting league then created a YouTube video thanking us for changes we made for her at a time in her life when she needed HOPE. She thanked us for doing what fuels our fire —connecting her to wildlife and wild places because we knew it would make her life better! We should be thanking her!
- The Selflessness of the Countless Thousands of Albertans, many of them new to our cause, who reached out and responded to our call for help. We completed the most successful fundraiser in the history of our organization. Thanks to all of you who respond- ed and assisted by supporting our fundraiser fueled by 100 separate generous donors. This gives me great HOPE at a time when our income necessary to support our delivery is down by nearly 70% year on year.
- The Professional Extension of Services from numerous people who find themselves out of work, but willing and interested in offering their expertise to assist with Legal Interpretations, Proofreading, Accounting advice
and even Construction. These people are out of work yet avail themselves to us knowing that we can use all of these important and valuable services. Their generosity of spirit gives me HOPE!
- Leaders Who Lead by what they do, not just say. At a time when our government officials are working long hours and devoting themselves to the very large matters at hand, Our Minister of AEP The Honourable Minister Nixon, our MLA the Honourable RJ Sigurd- son, and our MP the Honourable John Barlow all attended our recent Provincial Hunting Day celebrations at the Calgary Firearms Centre. Due to Covid protocols we were forced to limit attendance and had to turn down over 250 attendees; however, everyone who attended not only experienced a safe, rewarding and memorable educational experience but they each realized that their pursuit of wildlife and wild places holds an important place in our leader’s belief systems. That gives me great HOPE!
- Our Message is Being Sent and Received! Alberta’s resident hunting licence sales average has grown in the last 10 years. The per-capita growth rate on a 10-year average is entirely positive. Best of all, Alberta is the only governing body in all of North America to show any such increase and the numbers look even better for this year! We should be proud of our example and achievement. We should all get great rewards from such a success story. That gives me HOPE!
On a more national and even international stage, I am thankful and am given the gift of HOPE from:
- The Sacrificial Bravery of our Medical Health Professionals. I may be biased because my daughter is a registered nurse, but every day these heroes do what they do to help us all and to give us peace during turmoil. They give us their very best every day! That gives me HOPE!
- The Devotion to Learning and to Those Who Learn. Again I may be biased because both my daughters-in-law are teachers, but every day these heroes do what they do to mold the minds of our youth to give them and us a chance to change the world for the better with who we become and who we are. That gives me HOPE!
- The Global Collaborations and Pooling of Science. The might of the world is upon the pandemic and work is being done by the finest scientific minds available to solve the pandemic. The undeniable force of mankind towards a cure will endure and succeed. That gives me HOPE!
On a more local and close-to-home basis, our staff and volunteers give me great HOPE by working together to provide learning options and to create opportunities that are outside the norm to fit what the current realities are. Check out all the options described on these pages. We have created numerous learning options that are being utilized at a rate unprecedented in the history of our organization. There are numerous programs, training sessions, workbooks, APPS and various certificate programs that can connect people to the outdoors easier and better informed than ever before. Let’s encourage people to develop new skills using these new tools and the time-tested tools we provide. Let’s encourage people to use our resources to expand their horizons and eliminate boredom. Let’s encourage people to utilize this time to learn valuable life skills that may help them in their future. Let’s encourage people to learn something new and exciting! Let’s encourage HOPE!
So, as you can see, from this great turmoil springs the opportunity to be encouraged. I am encouraged that we have volunteers, instructors, mentors and staff that work their “magic” to touch the lives of the public and, most importantly, these efforts still hold tremendous sources of joy for others! Your efforts are demonstrating tremendous success and you are appreciated beyond what words here can describe.
So yes, even in these troubled times, I am ENCOURAGED and have HOPE! We must all try and eliminate the toxicity of hate, the environment of panic and the perpetuation of helpless-
ness!! HOPE is a powerful force and I hope that the force of HOPE be with you! I pray for those that are currently struggling with the virus, for those living in fear and anxiety, for those in isolation and for those who must make the incredibly difficult public decisions in this time of crisis.
I for one believe that the sun never really quits shining … sometimes clouds get in the way and it’s tough to see, but it does continue to shine. These clouds will part and the sun will come up again tomorrow … have FAITH! Be HOPEFUL! In case you aren’t sure what hope and faith are or if the tribulations of these trying times has made it hard for you to remember … HOPE is praying for rain and FAITH is showing up with an umbrella!
Please stay positive, test negative and try and remember that this too shall pass! When we each focus on the good … the good can only become better. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to all things Conservation Education.
Kindest regards. Sincerely,
Robert A. Gruszecki President – AHEIA