March 13, 2021

Howdy, TOWA!

What an amazing conference this year! This was my favorite one yet! Thank you to everyone who came—it was SO fun to see y’all! And to those who missed it, we missed YOU! Hope to see you all at future events when the pandemic settles down even more.

Conference Highlights

Wanted to share just a few of my highlights with everyone: the speaker line up & presentations were incredible, and I look forward to growing TOWA’s relationship with Texas State Rifle Association, SilencerCo, and Spring Creek Outdoors especially. If anyone would like to write for TSRA, they are always taking volunteer writers. It’s unpaid, but this amazing opportunity will allow you to share your voice with over 30,000 families in Texas!

SilencerCo also has an amazing new platform for ladies & new shooters: SheShootsQuietly, led by our very own Brooklee Grant. Find them on Instagram, and bring your family & friends to one of their events. I know I plan on attending a Ladies Night with them and several of my friends soon! This group also reminds us that hunting should be shared with everyone—young & old, athletic or not, male & female. Reach out to someone who could benefit from some time in the great outdoors, and show them how it’s done, y’all! Let’s use our love for the outdoors as an outreach tool to connect with our fellow humans! 

Finally, our white-tailed deer expert, Macy Ledbetter, is a BRILLIANT biologist and offered to share some facts and stats with us on our future columns and articles. If you need some information to include in your next writing piece, please reach out to him for the ACTUAL TRUTH about Texas Wildlife.

A Few Well-Deserved Thank Yous

Port Arthur and the Hampton Inn were excellent hosts, and we are so grateful for everything they did to make this Conference a hit—especially during a Pandemic! We also have a KILLER board, and I am so grateful for their friendship & excellent work on this year’s Conference—it paid off better than it ever has before, and that is from the hard work of our amazing Board members volunteering from the goodness of their hearts. Y’all give them a shout & a thank you: Michael Bennett, Herman Brune, Brooklee Grant, Jeff Lichon, & Sam Caldwell.

TOWA 2020 Board of Directors and Officers

Important News

Moving on to some important news & a personal note from me… When I started in TOWA—just 5 years ago, I was quickly “voluntold” to be on the Board, and I found myself filling multiple positions that no one would volunteer to do. I have been the Treasurer & President (or President Elect) since then. All while I was personally getting engaged, getting married, relocating cities, changing jobs, and moving into a new house. I also should not fail to mention that this work was being done while in a pandemic, while in a leadership change from removing an Executive Director TOWA could not afford, while redesigning the procedures & protocols of TOWA with all volunteers… This crazy time has afforded me a uniquely special perspective on the life of TOWA. After I was placed on the Board, I learned what my true task as President Elect was: save the sinking ship.

Well, here we are y’all! TOWA is now financially secure, volunteer-led, functioning during a pandemic (AMAZING!), and growing partnerships with new sponsors who love our mission and what we do. We are at a good & healthy place as an organization, and I am so proud of TOWA, our Board of Directors, and all our members and sponsors for growing with us. What a beautiful thing to look back and see how far we’ve come—especially against all odds! In the meantime, Payton & I are also making plans for our family and are *almost* certified to be Foster Parents! This has been a very long process for us, but now that we’re almost to the end, we need to prepare our home to welcome a child who needs us. When we’re home, we need to be home with our foster child. So at this time, I feel very secure passing on the torch to our new President: Michael Bennett and his new President Elect: Brooklee Grant. This dynamic duo is EXACTLY what TOWA needs to continue to grow in the outdoor industry! I can not wait to cheer for them from the sidelines and attend future TOWA Conferences & Fall Stampedes with our little family (& hopefully our foster child too)!

Hailey and Payton Johnson

Thank you for being the wonderful, rowdy bunch you are, TOWA! I look forward to continuing to grow together & be a voice for the outdoors together! Thanks for trusting me with leading the group; it has been an honor to serve such stewards of our Earth. See y’all at the next TOWA shindig!

Hailey Johnson

Past-President

P.S.—Here are the contacts I mentioned in the letter. When you contact them, let them know TOWA sent you!

TSRA writing: Sheri Moore outreach@tsra.com

Silencer Co’s new program: Follow on Instagram @SheShootsQuietly

Biology stats & facts: Macy Ledbetter macyledbetter@me.com

About the author 

Hailey Johnson

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