2009 South Carolina Ducks Unlimited State Convention a Huge Success
South Carolina Ducks Unlimited volunteers, supporters, and friends gathered in Greenville August 14th and 15th to celebrate at the Annual State Convention held at the historic Westin Poinsett Hotel in downtown Greenville. Convention attendees found their weekend filled with plenty of activities, great conversation and sharing of ideas, and loads of hospitality thanks to their hosts, committee members of the Greenville Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.
Newly elected DU National President, John Pope, of Jacksonville, Florida attended the convention and commented that the Greenville Committee had put on a convention of “National Convention quality.”
Attendees arrived Friday afternoon and after checking in were shuttled to the unique surroundings of the Upcountry History Museum just a few blocks from the hotel. Everyone took the opportunity to enjoy the museum exhibits displaying the fascinating history and lore of the Upstate region of South Carolina while enjoying fantastic food and live music that lasted well into the night.
Saturday morning’s General Business Session was well attended and very invigorating for all who attended. State Chairman, Jay Phillips, acknowledged the challenging year the country has faced, but he also mentioned the resiliency of South Carolina duck hunters and altered the words of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy by encouraging everyone to “not ask what the ducks do for you, but what you can do for the ducks.” National President Pope echoed Phillips’ comments and offered strong words of encouragement to the volunteers as they prepare for the fall banquet season.
While some attendees spent Saturday afternoon enjoying the shops and sites of downtown Greenville, many gathered back at the hotel for a dog training roundtable with the host of Ducks Unlimited TV’s Waterdog, Justin Tackett. Tackett addressed questions ranging from the basics of dog training to more advanced level drills and training tips. Everyone enjoyed the open forum discussion and especially the opportunity to meet Justin’s hunting partner, “Yella”.
The weekend continued with the Annual State Awards Gala on Saturday night. Several chapters were recognized for their outstanding efforts in 2008 including the six National Top 100 Chapters from South Carolina: East of the Cooper (ranked fifth in the nation), Lexington, North Myrtle Beach, Grand Strand, Pee Dee River Basin, and Southern Berkeley. Southern Berkeley Area Chairman, John Keller, was awarded the “Area Chairman of the Year” award, and District Chairman, James Meadows, was awarded the “District Chairman of the Year” award. Finally, the night ended with the awarding of the State Chairman’s Perpetual Trophy which hangs at Donnelly. State Secretary and long time volunteer, Jerry Watson of Columbia, was given the award, and at the same time, Jerry and his wife, Vivian, announced they had just committed to becoming Life Sponsors with Ducks Unlimited. The evening could not have ended on a better note.