CSF Policy Fellows: A Summer with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation

By: Brendan Carroll, John Hood and Mark Lance

Prior to the spring, none of us had heard of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) or the work they do. Nonetheless, we all came to hear about CSF’s Brad Rowse Policy Fellowship through school, friends, or job boards when we were looking for summer internships. We were not completely sure what to expect when we first came to Washington, DC, but quickly found out that CSF was a hub for all things that sportsmen and women love. From the policy that protects and funds sportsmen’s pursuits, to the industry and individual enthusiasts that tirelessly work to conserve wildlife and wild spaces, CSF pulls together the sporting community to protect and advance our cherished traditions. As policy fellows at CSF we experienced many new things and reminisced on common experiences as well. Brendan, an experienced angler, learned about hunting and the various game species, but also efforts to protect angling and fisheries. Mark, alternatively, having been immersed in all things sportsmen-related his whole life, was able to learn more about the institutions and policy-makers that impact our ability to get afield or on the water. Meanwhile, John had not previously been exposed to the details of science-based conservation or the realm of conservation funding through policy; learning about both broadened his view of conservation. All of three of us are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to positively impact the hunting and angling culture in America through our time in DC, and will always carry the knowledge and skills we learned at CSF with us in future endeavors.

From John Hood:

Every sportsman’s passion began with just a taste of the outdoors. From the first bass to strike a top water lure, to the first whitetail harvested with a bow or even the quiet walk to the tree stand on a crisp November morning, every sportsman found a passion that they desired to pursue again. This is what drives the all-day deer stand sits, the ‘just one more cast’ as the sun sets on a full day of fishing, and what makes me long for time on the river in the summer and in the blind in the winter. In recent years, school, sports, and attending school in the city of Chicago has often prevented me from hunting or angling. Working at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation granted me the opportunity to protect and promote all Americans’ access to hunting and angling opportunities; it also made me long for and cherish all of my experiences as a sportsman. Before beginning at CSF, I understood that many sportsmen are conservationists, but as I leave the foundation, I know that all sportsmen and women are our most stalwart conservationists – not because they actively participate in conservation practices, but moreover, because they are the ones who fund the vast majority of the on-the-ground work of state fish and wildlife agencies. CSF works to ensure that hunters and anglers everywhere have the opportunity to carry forward this strong conservation legacy. I learned far more than I thought possible at an internship; the staff at CSF did not hesitate to take me in and immediately assign projects that were far from busy work.

From working on hunter recruitment research to writing contributions on issue briefs, CSF allowed me to make an impact; this is what a great internship should be. Between the incredible internship experience and the substance of the work, I cannot imagine a more fitting organization at which to intern. In a time when fewer and fewer Americans experience the beauty of the outdoors and harvest the fish and game it offers, I am proud to be a sportsman and even more proud to have had an opportunity to help advocate for sportsmen everywhere. I am grateful for my time at CSF and for the work that they do to relentlessly protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting, and trapping.

From Mark Lance:

Growing up in Mississippi, I was introduced to the lifestyle of hunting and fishing at an early age. From sitting up against a tree with my uncle listening for that first spring gobble, to sitting in a deer stand on a cold, winter morning with my grandfather, to fishing a bream bed during a hot, summer day with my father, it all has become a lifestyle for me. I decided that I would dedicate my educational and professional career to protecting and advancing the lifestyle of the American sportsman so that it can continue to be passed down for generations to come. This led me to apply to become a Brad Rowse Policy Fellow at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

I was blessed to work alongside some of the most dedicated and brightest people to protect and advance the sportsmen’s lifestyle in our nation’s capital and around the United States. This internship not only provided me with valuable working experience and networking opportunities, but also friendships that will last a lifetime. I can honestly say that my decision to work for CSF was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I highly recommend others, who see the importance in protecting our rights to enjoy every aspect of the great outdoors, to apply to be a part of this outstanding organization. You will not be disappointed.

From Brendan Carroll

Growing up in Massachusetts, I spent the majority of my childhood and young adult life fishing and around the ocean. Coming from a family of former commercial fishermen, fishing is not an activity that people from my area would bat an eye at. There is never a shortage of annual fishing tournaments, boats selling fresh caught fish right off their stern or charter captains advertising at the docks. Yet, hunting is one that seems taboo to the majority. For most of my life, I was unexposed to the hunting aspect of the outdoorsmen life except for my family’s somewhat frequent trips to Bass Pro Shops. Before my internship at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, I knew very little about the important role that sportsmen play in conservation. I had the conventional idea that hunting simply takes away from populations and does little for the environment. Now, after working alongside individuals who have dedicated their livelihood to working to debunk this misconception, I understand just how crucial sportsmen and women are to the conservation of our fish and wildlife.

During the beginning minutes of my very first day I felt welcomed into an incredibly enjoyable work environment. Whether my colleagues were in the office across the hall or on the phone in a distant state, each person is excited to help you understand a topic more thoroughly and will take the time to do outside research to ensure that the directions you’re given are clear and concise, and that you understand the importance of the project within the larger context of the policy work the organization is conducting. Everyone at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is committed to upholding the image and rights of sportsmen because they have been brought up knowing what a respectable heritage hunting has. This internship has made me proud to come from that background, and opened my eyes to another part of the sportsmen’s world that I cannot wait to become more invested in.

If you, or someone you know may be interested in interning with CSF as a Brad Rowse Policy Fellow in Washington, DC, please view the employment opportunities page on CSF’s website to learn more.


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