By Tiffany Boguslawski, Brad Rowse Policy Fellow, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Having been brought up in the amazing world of hunting, the lifestyle that I found to be normal was one that many of my colleagues at Loyola University Chicago found to be abhorrent. It has been a challenge having to constantly defend my family, and our practices, to those who just do not get it. My whole life, I have struggled to understand why my peers want to take away something that has brought my family so much joy and unity. When I found out I was going to spend my semester in Washington D.C., I knew I wanted to work at an organization that really spoke to me and my passions, which is why the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) seemed like the obvious place to intern. Although I knew CSF was a phenomenal organization, I had no idea just how impactful the experience of working with them would be on me and my desire to protect and promote the sportsmen’s traditions in this country and abroad.
Attending University in Chicago, I am regularly surrounded by those with anti-hunting sentiments. In fact, when I ask my peers why they do not support hunting, aside from them not liking the idea of killing an animal, the first answer is always, “I do not like that you use guns to do it.” They are not willing to understand that without the sale of firearms, ammunition and other equipment, funding for wildlife conservation, through the American System of Conservation Funding, would undergo a major loss. CSF has played an integral part in pushing for the modernization of the Pittman-Robertson Act, which would continue to protect this form of conservation funding into the future by allowing some funds to be used to recruit, retain, and reactivate additional participants into the funding model through hunting and/or recreational shooting. It has been a blessing to be able to work with a group of individuals that share the same passion as I do.
When I was interviewed for the internship, I remember being asked what I wanted to gain from the internship. I had the very quick and easy answer of, “I want to learn.” I wanted to use this opportunity to absorb as much information as I possibly could, and I can say that this internship helped me accomplish that goal. I worked on a variety of different projects with topics ranging the American System of Conservation Funding to poaching regulations in different states. Additionally, I had the privilege of attending the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Annual Summit in New Hampshire with the CSF staff. I was able to hear from experts on the leading issues facing the sportsmen’s community today. It was the most amazing experience, and I am so grateful that I was able to attend.
All in all, I am incredibly thankful for the time I have had at CSF. Not only have I been able to expand my knowledge on various sportsmen’s issues, but I have also created amazing relationships with the staff in the office. As I reflect on my time at CSF, I am overcome with gratitude for the opportunities it has given me. I cannot be happier with my decision to intern here.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (13.75%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (11.25%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (61.25%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.75%)