2019 Wish Hunt was a Huge Success
The SCI Lansing Chapter’s 2019 Wish Hunt did not disappoint.
Our chapter has renamed this annual event as the Jim and Janet Leonard Safari Youth Wish Hunt, in honor of this generous couple who has supported this endeavor for many years. Jim passed away in 2018, just a few weeks before the hunt. We miss him greatly.
For information on last year’s hunt, click here.
This year’s hunt took place the weekend of November 6-10 at the Cedar Hollow Lodge in Grayling, Michigan. Barry Oleksyk, an SCI Lansing Chapter member, attended for the second year in a row. Last year, he was asked at the last minute to fill in for Jim. “Those were some big shoes to fill. Jim and Janet were so involved and gave so much to the event. It was an honor to be asked. This year I knew more people and was so glad to be back.” said Barry.
SCI LAC sponsored two health-challenged hunters, Riley Jo and Fabrizio, through (and in coordination with) the Foundation for Hope Outdoor Adventures. There were five youth hunters in total that weekend. The foundation was started by Craig Mortz (SCI Lansing Chapter Member) and Tony Semple (Former Detroit Lion Football).
For more information about the Foundation watch this informative video.
“Both of these kids were so wonderful. They were both so positive and happy to be there. Fabrizio was there with his mom. His dad passed away last year. Mom was a little apprehensive at first, but we got them settled in and she enjoyed. Fabrizio did not get a deer until the very last five minutes of the hunt, which made it even more exciting,” Barry exclaimed.
Riley Jo, attending with her father, explained that she weighed a little over a pound when she was born and has had many complication due to being premature.
The guides are with the kids the entire time and help them determine which deer to shoot. Fabrizio brought his own rifle and Riley Jo used a special electronic rifle with a video screen. The hunter adjusts their aim by using a little joystick and presses a button to fire the gun.
“It is so heartwarming to see how excited the kids get when they get something.” Barry said.
Bonfires and Bonding
This year’s hunt was scheduled a little earlier in the year and the weather was warmer. This allowed for more bonfires and eating outside.
“The highlight of the weekend was definitely the bonfire on Saturday night. People talked about why they were there and what brought them to this moment. It was really touching as they spoke about the difficulties in their lives. It made it much more family oriented and so many people came by that night to support the group. It was a tremendous event.” Barry reminisced.
Barry also added that the people who run Cedar Hollow Lodge and all the volunteers are great and clearly there to help. They made sure everyone is taken care of and having a good time.
The Wildlife Gallery, who also works with our chapter, provides complimentary taxidermy to the youth who participate in the hunt. The young hunters do not know they are receiving this generous gift when we present it to them at our March 21st banquet.
The Lansing SCI Chapter would like to give a very warm thank you to everyone who made this event possible. We are really looking forward to seeing Fabrizio, Riley Jo, and their families at our fundraising dinner in March. We hope you will join us too (click here for tickets and information).
Join Safari Club Lansing Today!
If you would like to experience hunts like this one and meet other hunters in Lansing, Join SCI. When you join SCI, you can become a better-informed hunter and conservationist. Your dues and voice help SCI protect your hunting rights in Lansing, Washington DC, and around the world.