“You want me to wake up at what time to fish?” This was the first sentence I clearly remember saying to my new boss Christen Duxbury when she told me the itinerary for the TRCP staff retreat.
I had started as the TRCP communications intern the week before, and while I grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania and loved fishing for bluegill, waking up at 4 a.m. to fish with my boss and coworkers was not my idea of fun.
Unable to feign illness, I showed up and joined the rest of the team in the quest for stripers. And while I was not exactly bright-eyed and bushy tailed, it was my first glimpse into what I signed up for with the TRCP. The level of dedication and enthusiasm present among TRCP staff was palpable.
Some work the daily 9-5 grind to collect a paycheck – TRCP staffers work around the clock because they deeply care about their work. Each one would rather be romping around the great outdoors with a gun or a pole in hand. Instead, more than half of TRCP employees are surrounded by concrete and cubicles in Washington, D.C. These staffers have the foresight to recognize that by coming into work every day they are helping ensure future generations of sportsmen quality places to hunt and fish – and that if they failed to show up, hunting and fishing would remain at risk.
Throughout my seven-month internship I worked with people like Brandon Helm, who watches a video of a trout stream each morning for inspiration to keep influencing policy for the benefits of sportsmen and the fish and wildlife upon which they depend. Or Duxbury, the public-lands hunting, trail-running bundle of energy who keeps the outdoor community informed about conservation policy. And Bob Hale, TRCP’s numbers man, who takes afternoon walks around the city to escape his office.
I thought I knew hunting and fishing enthusiasts growing up, but working at the TRCP revealed to me a new level of dedication. These people possess enthusiasm not just for the outdoor experience but also for the prolonged conservation and well-being of outdoor resources in this country. Working for the TRCP was an eye-opening experience, not just because of how much I learned professionally, but because the contagious passion of the staff members.
Even if they did make me get up at 4 a.m.