October 11-14 Conference to take place in Lake George, N.Y.
A concept spawned by two outdoor writers in 1967 has grown into a viable organization of nearly 100 professional communicators and dozens of supporting members—businesses and organizations in the outdoor industry—and that group, the New York State Outdoor Writers Association, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in Lake George, N.Y., Oct. 11-15.
Bill Hilts of Sanborn, N.Y., and Hans Paller of Massena, N.Y. combined on an idea that both independently had begun to act on—that is, contacting New York members of the national Outdoor Writers Association of America to see if they would be interested in forming a statewide organization. NYSOWA’s first formal meeting was held in Lake George in the fall of 1967, so the group is returning to that village to meet for its golden anniversary celebration.
Dan Ladd of Fort Ann, N.Y., the conference chairman, has many events planned for the expanded conference, which is running one day longer than the traditional Thursday evening through Sunday morning gathering. A special guest, outdoor writing icon Jim Zumbo, a native New Yorker who lives in Cody, Wyo., will be attending the entire conference. Zumbo will be the guest speaker at the Saturday night, Oct. 14, awards banquet, sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and will also be available to the public on Friday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m. for a book signing at the Docksider Restaurant, 298 Glen Lake Road, in Lake George.
The membership will base itself at Dunham’s Bay Resort, but events also will take place at other venues, including North Creek/Gore Mountain, SUNY Adirondack, where students of the community college’s culinary program will prepare a game dinner, Glen Lake and on Lake George itself.
Today, the organization provides its members with the opportunity to attend annual spring and fall gatherings at sites around the state, allowing members to experience outdoor recreation in those areas and attend newsmaker and craft improvement workshops as well. Members also get the benefits of a quarterly newsletter, a polished website, www.nysowa.org, with much of it open to public viewing, a membership directory and a very prestigious communicating and photo awards program. That awards program is sponsored by Ducks Unlimited, the Sportsman Channel, Redding Reloading Equipment and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“NYSOWA since its inception has offered members professional growth opportunities,” said the organization’s president, Mike Joyner, of McGraw, N.Y. “The individual and supporting members benefit from one another, with the communicators staying on top of new industry products and developments and the supporting members tapping into the active members’ creative talents and media outlets to promote the outdoor industry and lifestyle we so passionately care for. The public benefits most of all, with better written and presented articles, books, TV and radio shows and all of the other forms of media in which we communicate, all because of the ideas acted upon by Hans Paller and Bill Hilts Sr. 50 years ago.”
Hilts, the surviving member of the founding duo, says that what he is perhaps most proud of is NYSOWA’s scholarship program that aids college students pursuing outdoor-related majors and youth attending DEC summer camps and, this past year, a father and son, both very ill, going on a big-game hunt at a New York shooting preserve.
“The region has been very supportive of this celebration,” said Ladd. “We have received assistance from many sources, including Warren County Tourism Department, the Town of Queensbury, Lake George Chamber of Commerce, the Village of Lake George, Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce, Eastonview Outfitters, the Docksider Restaurant, Stone River Gear, LLC and several guides, sportsmen and businesses throughout Warren County.”
NYSOWA encourages the public, as well as prospective members, both individual and supporting, to learn more about the association at nysowa.org.