Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

One Little Girl's BIG Birthday Gift to RMEF

Ahnie Ivie
I have been a volunteer with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for years and am currently co-chair of the Buffalo Chapter in Buffalo, Wyoming. We often pack up and travel around Wyoming to help volunteer at RMEF events and banquets across the state. Whenever possible, which is 90 percent of the time, I bring my daughters (Ahnya nicknamed Ahnie, 8, and Maye, 1) with me. They also tag along to committee meetings. I figure if kids grow up around the RMEF then one day they will step into our shoes as volunteers. Turns out I was right!

Earlier this year I was driving my daughter, Ahnie, to the bus stop. She was jabbering away like most seven year old girls do. The previous weekend she attended a friend's birthday party so naturally the topic of our conversation turned to birthday parties and, more specifically, hinting about her upcoming birthday party. We talked about everything from cakes to party games, but it was what she said next that brought a big ol' smile to my face. Ahnie asked, "Mom, could I give my birthday presents to the RMEF?" A little puzzled, I asked her what she meant. She very promptly replied that instead of birthday presents for her maybe people could give the RMEF a present to make money for the elk. At this point, I almost exploded with pride. I said "Absolutely!", and she said, "Awesome!" As she hopped out of the truck to meet the bus I told her how proud I was of her. 

We soon set to work planning the coolest, most fun, amazing, spectacular birthday party known to man: an RMEF-themed birthday party. Ahnie handed out her birthday invites that specified "No Presents," but if they'd like to contribute to the funds she was raising for her RMEF donation that would be peachy keen! Ahnie put together the goodies bags for her party guests, complete with elk skat (chocolate covered almonds) but they looked convincing as a few of the kids thought hard before eating them). She and I also spent a few days making "Rocky" the RMEF piñata. When the big day finally rolled around, the kids had great time learning about conservation and the RMEF, practicing target shooting with rubber band guns, deconstructing poor Rocky the RMEF piñata and playing a little Hunter's Tag.

The making of "Rocky," the RMEF pinata.

"Rocky" in his final, pre-party form
Each kiddo received an RMEF donor sticker as well, which made them all feel very proud. Once the party wrapped up and all her pals headed home we added up how much Ahnie had raised. I asked her what she thought the total might be. Ahnie was hoping for $65. When I told her she had raised $185 her jaw nearly hit the floor. Then she hollered, "YEAHHHHHH!" and started doing a victory dance. It never bothered her once that she didn't receive a single birthday present for herself. Nothing is prettier than the look of accomplishment on an eight-year old’s face.

It turns out Ahnie actually raised $200 so she sat down with Chapter Co-chair Trina Andis and I to discuss how we could best use her donation. We decided the best bet for her would be to purchase something for our live auction. Off to the Sports Lure (our local Sporting Goods Store) we went. As any sensible RMEF volunteer would do, as soon as we walked through the doors she headed straight for the guns. A Heritage Arms Rough Rider .22 Revolver immediately caught her eye—a cowboy gun. As luck would have it the pistol she picked fit her price range perfectly. She was also able to add a box of .22 LR bullets to the package courtesy of the fine folks at the Sports Lure. We wrapped up Ahnie's donation with the some birthday flare and tagged it as LIVE AUCTION #8: "Ahnie's Birthday Present to the RMEF"

At the banquet Ahnie and her friend Maggie were in charge of handing out membership knives at the registration door. About every five minutes Ahnie would ask me if it was time for her to auction off her present. She was bouncing off the walls in anticipation. When the big moment came the auctioneer explained to the audience the story behind this item and the entire room burst out in applause. Once the bidding got started it didn't stop until we hit $3,100! Thanks to the generosity and bidding tenacity of one of Wyoming's finest RMEF volunteers, Ahnie's initial $200 donation was multiplied more than 15 times. I'll never forget how Ahnie turned to me and said, "Wow, Mom. That was AWESOME!" Now she's making plans to attend Elk Camp this December. 

Ahnie also became an RMEF Life Member this year. It was a big accomplishment for her because she raised the money for her life membership by herself. Her goal was to earn all the money before our banquet on May 3rd so that she could write her name on the Sponsor/Life Member board.

Our former Wyoming State volunteer chair, Tom Kaness, generously provided her with the rifle. She made her own raffle tickets and started selling them. Friends, family, and RMEF volunteers were all very supportive of her raffle. Ahnie even did extra chores, mucked stalls, and cleaned up after the dogs to earn $20 to buy her little sister, Maye, one of the raffle tickets.

Ahnie's homemade Life Membership raffle ticket

When this little gal has a goal in her sights, she gets it done. The only thing more exciting for her than getting to write her name on the board was winning a drawing! 

Ahnie wants to thank everyone who contributed to her donation and helps the RMEF. She has now seen first-hand what a volunteer can do, no matter their age. This has been a remarkable experience for her and she's looking forward to being an RMEF volunteer for years to come. We'll see you at Elk Camp!

I asked Ahnie to write a little something to explain why she helped the RMEF and what the RMEF means to her. Here's what she wrote:

"I decided to donate to the RMEF because I wanted to save wildlife. I like going hiking, camping, hunting with my family and being an outdoors girl so I thought I could help. I love going to RMEF banquets. The games are so fun and the people are nice! If other kids want to help the RMEF they can! They can help at banquets and maybe sell raffle tickets or raise money to donate. I am going to be an RMEF volunteer and I hope my friends will be RMEF volunteers too. It's fun!"

Katie Moody
Ahnie's Proud Mother
Buffalo, Wyoming

To learn more about becoming an RMEF volunteer, go here.

Ahnie (dead center in pink RMEF shirt) and her friends
Make a wish Ahnie!
The big moment

1 comment:

  1. Wow Anhie! What a great ideas for “RMEF” suggested by you, for the occasion of your birthday! I am really proud of you dear. I can see you efforts in these images displayed in this blog. All views are really fabulous as a result of great hard work done by your team. Well done!
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