Commitment to Community
Guest Blog by: Eric Allee , Colorado 6/21/2017
This year was the first year I participated in Bass Pro Shops Rod and Reel Trade in program. Iíve known about it for years, but never really dug into the details of it. This year when I was doing podcast prep for one of our LFK Podcast shows Loralee at Bass Pro Shops Denver asked us to mention the rod and reel trade in. After asking a handful of questions I couldnít have been prouder to talk about such an amazing program.
On the surface the rod and reel trade in is a good deal. For every rod or reel you trade in you get a trade in coupon you can use on a rod or reel purchase. Most anglers myself included have a surplus of rods and reels that have sat in the garage collecting dust for decades. Trade in something you no longer have a need for a get a better price on the gear youíve been drooling over. Pretty cut and dry win/win situation right? Yes, but it gets even better than that. The folks at Bass Pro Shops Denver and Bass Pro Shops stores all over the country go through all the rods and reels that were traded in. They clean them up and donate them to local organizations using the outdoors to reach out to our youth! So quick recap for those of you keeping score. You get rid of stuff you arenít using, get a trade in coupon for new gear youíre going to buy anyway, and youíre helping get children outdoors.
A few months after the rod and reel trade in was over Loralee called me and asked if Iíd like to be there when the rods and reels were donated. I jumped at the opportunity and set up camera equipment in the Bass Pro Shops Denver Conservation room. I was in full on capture content mode up to the point to where Loralee donated all the equipment to all the awesome folks in the room who were there representing non-profits. I already had a video in mind when I went from the mindset of capturing content to being in awe of those special people around me.
I continued to snap pictures but the writer in me was too busy soaking up the moment to really work on composing any shots. Loralee gave everyone in the room an opportunity to share a little bit about their non-profit and what they do to help others. The passion in their voices and body language was inspiring and the buzz in the room continued to grow. Ten minutes later they were all in a circle talking when they started talking about collaborating on projects together. When you bring amazing selfless people together and put them in a room remarkable things happen. As commercial as this might sound what brought these amazing folks together was Bass Pro Shops commitment to community.
Walking back to my truck my mind started wondering back to the first time I met Bass Pro Shops Denverís store manager Vaughn. It was Vaughn, Loralee, and myself in Vaughnís office talking about fishing. Iíd worked with Loralee in the past and knew she was the best in the business at what she does. I knew Vaughn was a good dude right off the bat when we started talking about fishing. Vaughn is a passionate outdoorsman and we got sidetracked a few times talking too much about fishing and not enough about the meeting at hand. I was still on the fence about a tough choice I was facing at the time until Vaughn and Loralee started talking about their commitment to the outdoor community. They both lit up and spoke with passion and inspiring dedication which made a tough decision at the time easy.
This blog was supposed to be about a rod and reel trade in but I canít write about stuff when what took place is much more important than that. Itís seeing first hand so many wonderful people being dedicated to others for nothing other than to help. Community isnít about competition itís about collaboration and coming together to help each other help others. This might lean on the cheesy side but I canít help but to wonder if it was a rod and reel trade in that brought all those special people in a room together or if it was fate.
Almost 400 rods and even more reels were donated as a result of this years trade in program. These will provide countless smiles to the youth anglers that will use them and who know how many kids will get hooked on fishing from this. If you believe children need to be around more tackle boxes and less Xboxes participating in a program like this is a wonderful way to pay it forward.
I want to thank Vaughn Peterson and Loralee Giudice from Bass Pro Shops Denver for their continued commitment to the outdoor community.
Thank you to John Murphy of the Centennial Bass Club, Ty McKay of Dream Culture, Dominic Lucero of Colorado Treks Program, and all your friends and family in the room for everything you do. It was an honor to be in the room with so many amazing people.
Fishing has been a passion of mine ever since I can remember. Iíve committed myself to helping others not only catch more and bigger fish, but also enjoy themselves more while doing so.