No matter your line of work, getting the buy-in of the "younger crowd" is becoming increasingly important.
A decade ago, I was editing a daily newspaper here in Idaho, and while content and ethics and objectivity remained my highest priorities, readership was something I couldn't ignore. My circulation director and our advertising director were always trying to conjure up new ideas that would help put the newspaper into the hands of younger readers as it became alarmingly evident that our most dependable readers were showing up in greater numbers in the pages of the obituaries.
But don't let me get started about the future of newspapers--I steadfastly remain an ink-stained wretch, even if today most of the work I do is published digitally.
Unfortunately for a lot of membership-driven non-profits--and TU is no different--attracting younger members isn't disimilar from newspapers trying to like mad to get someone under 30 to pick up an actual copy of the product. Our membership at TU is aging, but we're not about to give up on the next generation of conservation-minded anglers, even if the membership models that have worked so well for TU for over 50 years don't seem to immediately capture the interest of younger anglers.
We are making a significant investment in younger anglers through our Headwaters Youth Program, and one young angler in particular--Wray Sinclair--is on board and working to bring his contemporaries to TU, where they can put their passion for fishing to work protecting, reconnecting and restoring our nation's trout water. Wray is living proof that, just because there are so many distractions and demands on their time, doesn't mean young people don't care about the world around them. Wray loves to fly fish, and that's the front door to TU. Thankfully, he's holding that door open and encouraging young anglers like him to get involved and begin what will hopefully be a lifetime of advocacy on behalf of America's trout and salmon.
Wray sat down with TU President and CEO Chris Wood recently for a quick chat. I think you'll be as impressed as I was.