One of the first things I learned when starting my service term at MUCC was that I was not going to get my birthday off this year, MUCC’s 82nd Annual Convention fell on June 21-23, 2019. Then came my question, what happens at the convention? I was given the Policy Resolution booklet from 2018 and an explanation by my supervisor, Shaun Mckeon, on the layout of convention and what to expect.
I was never involved in the policy world while I was in college and never had much experience with it until joining MUCC. I have been on the advocacy and lobbying side of issues before and had been asked to support bills and message representatives. I am grateful to even have had that exposure but none of it was even comparable to seeing how the grassroots policy process works here at MUCC. The more I listened to Amy Trotter, MUCC Executive Director, talk about MUCC’s work in getting our member’s policies passed and supported the more I came to appreciate the grassroots process and all that it accomplishes for our natural resources and recreational activities.
As the days flew by, my service term was now halfway gone and the convention was right around the corner. Although I was told what to expect, I knew that I would have a different perspective being a first-time attendee. The Friday of convention was kicked off with an OTG project at Backus Creek State Game Area, where 11 volunteers (in addition to 12 MUCC and DNR staff) planted 35 mast-producing trees to benefit various wildlife in the area. Species planted include hawthorn, juneberry and crabapple.
The structure of Saturday and Sunday was very well put together and easy to follow. It was a perfect balance of speakers, policy resolutions, breaks, and awards, to spread out the day as efficiently as possible. The discussion on the policy resolutions, through MUCC grassroots policy process, was thorough and engaging which made my first experience of watching the process impactful. I was engaged in our member’s comments and concerns because these are the people that care. They have been given the opportunity to share what they think will enhance and conserve our natural resources and recreational activities. After hearing Amy speak to the success rate of MUCC passing member policies, I can’t believe more people don’t take advantage of this opportunity, especially the younger generation. Any and all voices are important and MUCC can give you a platform to be heard on. I was able to see a new side to MUCC that I have not been able to see before coming to the convention. I will take what I have learned with me as I continue to grow throughout my service as a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member.
During Amy’s Annual Report at the convention, she reflected on the work MUCC has been accomplishing. I feel so proud to be a part of all the productive work that goes on here at MUCC. I see it every day whether that’s Amy, Ian, and Stephanie running off to the legislature fighting for your voice; Nick capturing MUCC’s work and sharing it with all of you through our media networks and MOOD magazine; Amber, Logan and Sue making sure we stay afloat through communications, media and finances; Max, who reaches hundreds of kids across the state through our MOOD Youth Camp; Morgan and Makhayla who impact and improve thousands of private and public land acres for wildlife habitat; and Shaun who is one of MUCC’s greatest leaders in education and habitat work.
Thank MUCC, thank our members and thank any and all agencies, organizations and clubs that work hard every single day so that we will have our recreational activities and natural resources for generations to come.