Americans are known for being the most generous givers in the world. Both in the corporate world and on an individual basis, we donate millions every year to countless numbers of organizations and individuals in need. Even President Trump has donated his presidential salary to others. We can be proud of this selflessness. To keep greed in check and give of our hard-earned dollars to others is an awesome action. We care about others!

After reading this first paragraph, we are all thinking dollars! Money! Financial sacrifice! But our giving is not the sole action of transfering money. Our time, which is more valuable than money, is also given freely, no strings attached, by many millions every year.

This donation of personal hours is very evident in the trapping community.

My wife and I went to both the NTA and the FTA national conventions this year. They are organized and run by volunteers—time-donators. I have also been to regional, state and district trapper conventions and meets. The story at all of them is the same. They exist and succeed because of the selfless sacrifice of the volunteers.

The importance of volunteers cannot be overstated. They prepare the convention locations, set up demo areas, put up signs, go to local businesses for their contributions, help with parking, assist vendors in setting up and tearing down, answer questions, clean up after the event, and do a hundred other tasks. They are the gophers, the labor force, and the oil that keeps the convention machinery running smoothly. Yes, the volunteer force makes a tremendous difference. We all owe them big time.

Amazingly, for all the sacrifice being a volunteer demands, many literally love to give of themselves every year. It’s almost like a trapper slogging through mucky, icy creeks to catch a $3 raccoon. Payday may not be that great, but the activity itself is its own reward.

If you haven’t volunteered at a trappers meet, you should. Looking ahead, it may seem to be a real bad idea, an imposition. Once you take the plunge, you will find it very rewarding. You will be helping the organization you believe in. And while doing so, you will receive a great amount of satisfaction which can’t be measured. It really is a win-win. You just might find yourself volunteering more and more. It can be addicting.

For all trappers, whether you are a volunteer or haven’t taken that plunge yet, make certain you thank every volunteer you see. Is the convention you are attending extremely hot? Take a cold drink to a volunteer helping vendors or working a gate. Smile and shake their hand. Tell them you appreciate their efforts. Recognition, even a fleeting one, is all most of us want. •