United Sportsmen’s Youth Foundation’s Annual Fund-raising Banquet May 1
By Susan Johnson
The United Sportsmen’s Youth Foundation’s 9th Annual Fund-raising Banquet will be held Saturday, May 1, at 1010 Sandy Hollow Road in Rockford. The location is known as the SM & SF Club (Swedish Music & Sick Fraternity–really!). Founded about 100 years ago by some old timers who enjoyed gathering as a group and would help any of the members who were ill, the name has stuck.
The United Sportsmen’s Youth Foundation, however, was founded 10 years ago as an organization that would unite sportsmen, agriculture and communities, help preserve land in areas of rapid development, protect habitat, and teach children how personal involvement can positively impact wildlife and habitat. Their motto is “Local, Huntable, Habitat for Kids.”
The USYF is headquartered in Freeport on 1931 IL Route 75 E. Briefly, the USYF vision is:
1. Purchase 40-acre or larger blocks of habitat that adjoin sensitive wetlands or large tracts of farm land, especially land near schools and large cities in the path of urban sprawl. Purpose is to provide access for multi-use outdoor sports including youth education, agriculture and wildlife management.
2. Develop more USYF committees and chapters in other areas of the country, particularly in areas where kids have dwindling access to multi-use habitat.
3. Coordinate efforts with other organizations such as: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; Ducks Unlimited; Pheasants Forever; The Nature Conservancy; National Wild Turkey Federation; and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
4. Request help from celebrities who believe in our mission.
Brendan Walsh, one of the members, told The Rock River Times, “One of our highlights is that each year, we clean the Pecatonica River, and we’re going to start doing the Rock River this year. Last year, we had over 100 volunteers hauling semi loads of garbage out of the Pecatonica River. This will be our seventh annual river clean-up. We also purchased a youth park, about 10 acres of land, with a canoe launch and habitat education facility. River clean-up is the last Sunday of July every year. Boats are provided.”
The fund-raising banquet begins when the doors open at 5 p.m. for social hour, and dinner is at 7. Activities include bidding on puppies, including pointing Labradors; jewelry; guns such as a Browning sporting clays gun specially engraved with gold inlays; exotic hunts and trips to places such as Argentina, South Africa, Texas and New Zealand. One of these could be a special hunting or vacation trip to New Zealand, or a romantic getaway to a rustic cabin in Belize on the ocean, or a cabin in Texas at the famous Triple Seven Ranch, where Out of Africa was filmed.
Tickets, which include membership, newsletter and dinner, are $40 per couple, $30 single, or $25 for children younger than age 17. To make reservations, call (815) 599-5690. Walsh said, “We have something for everyone, whether you are a vegetarian or a meat-eating sportsman.”
From the April 28-May 4, 2010 issue
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