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Lines to Leaders

Dear [%first_name%],

StreamCold, clean, fishable water, like the cascading brook at right, doesn't come easy. It takes the right mix of protected headwater habitat, reconnected stream systems and the constant restoration of degraded areas to remain a thriving home for our country's native and wild trout and salmon.

And it takes all of you, our TU volunteer leaders, to make that happen.

In 2017, you, your chapters and councils, and the 300,000+ TU volunteers, members and supporters in our community, stepped up in a big way to make sure that our mission is carried to every corner of the country and our work makes a difference on tiny creeks, softly babbling streams and roaring rivers far and wide.

Thanks to you, and based on the recently finalized Annual Financial Report, we're proud to say that in the past fiscal year, together we made a difference with:

  • More than 710,000 volunteer hours committed to our mission;
  • Over 982 conservation projects restoring streams;
  • A total of 1,643 youth education programs inspiring the next generation;
  • And 525 veterans programs and events welcoming and connecting those who serve our country.
  • Our chapters and councils also raised over $9.9 million for important local conservation and education efforts and spent more than $8.6 million on mission-related activities.

While these numbers alone are impressive, I am especially thrilled with the rapid growth we are seeing in the areas that speak to the overall health and strength of our locally-led chapter and council model.

According to this past year's report, your chapters and councils have:

  • Engaged local communities with more than 1,669 outreach events raising awareness of TU's mission and building support for your local work beyond the TU membership;
  • Held 131 events designed specifically to attract women to TU and to our work;
  • Used these efforts to recruit more than 228 women and minorities into volunteer leadership roles;
  • Launched or continued 86 member retention programs to keep our TU community strong;
  • And planned for the future with 230 chapter and council annual budgets created and 198 strategic plans developed and deployed to drive your local work forward.

All of these efforts, from the conservation and education hours and projects, to the grunt work of developing important internal practices, have helped make TU stronger at all levels.

This focus on building and sustaining a local community has paid off in a big way when it comes to the volunteer leader pool as well. Over the past few years, we've seen incredible growth in the number of new volunteers stepping up, with more than 1,397 or 44% of our more than 3,166 volunteer leaders new to TU chapter and council leadership in the last four years alone!

Thanks to all you have done this past year – and in prior years – TU's impact continues to grow and our community continues to become more diverse, inclusive and inviting to all.

I can't wait to see all you will achieve in this coming year!

Jeff Yates
Director of Volunteer Operations


Regional Rendezvous Offer Networking, Training & More to TU Volunteer Leaders

Regional Rendezvous

Join fellow conservationists, anglers and volunteers from across the country at one of four great regional rendezvous this spring.

Spend a weekend learning from and talking with some of TU's most dedicated volunteers, members and supporters as well as staff and scientists. Share ideas and tips on protecting your local waters. Enjoy hands-on trainings and presentations on important conservation topics such as climate change and native trout as well as workshops designed to help you bring TU's mission to your favorite, local stream.

TU's regional rendezvous are occasions to be inspired, to celebrate all we are accomplishing together and to commit ourselves to the important work ahead. They also offer opportunities for fun and camaraderie with excellent fishing opportunities, evening social activities and networking throughout.

Open to all volunteer leaders, members and supporters, details on the regional rendezvous near you will be posted online at in the days and weeks ahead.

Join hundreds of TU members like you at one of these great gatherings:

  • January 26-27: Mid-South Regional Rendezvous (New Braunfels, Texas)
  • April 27-28: Western Regional Rendezvous (Keystone, Colorado)
  • May 18-20: Southeast Regional Rendezvous (Davis, West Virginia)
  • June 8-10: Northeast Regional Rendezvous (Lake Placid, New York)


For TU Chapters and Councils, Veterans Make Great Members and Volunteers

Regional RendezvousThe TU Veterans Service Partnership (VSP) is growing and generating increasing interest among councils, chapters and members!

If your chapter is considering starting a VSP program or is running a veterans program and interested in expanding and exploring new partnerships, we’d love to talk with you. The VSP provides great opportunities to serve our nation's military family and to engage them in our TU community supporting our conservation mission and our many initiatives such as youth education, Trout in the Classroom, and the Diversity Initiative.

Military veterans make great TU volunteers. They have extensive experience working as part of a team and have received special training in mission accomplishment.

Don’t forget that all veterans in your local VSP are eligible to receive a free, one-year membership to TU. This is a great opportunity to grow your army of TU chapter volunteers and sign up the participants in your veterans program as new TU members!

The national VSP recently completed a very successful volunteer training with Higher Ground Sun Valley and developed some excellent volunteer training resources. Those resources, which will be available online soon, join the host of other guidance documents and training tools available at

To learn more about how you can launch or grow your local VSP, please contact Dave Kumlien, national VSP Coordinator, at or by phone at (406) 570-0023.


Supplemental Accident Insurance: Policy Covers Your Events, Members and Volunteers

Did you know that TU offers additional accident insurance for chapters and councils that will extend $25,000 or $50,000 of medical coverage per participant per accident for all TU sponsored events, including youth camps?

This type of coverage is not included in the general liability policy provided for free to all TU chapters and councils, but can be helpful in instances where a person is injured at a TU event. Example: If a TU member or non-member volunteer is walking along the side of a river in the course of a TU work project, and they trip on a log and are injured, the additional accident insurance would be available to help cover eligible medical expenses while treating the injury.

The cost of $115 per chapter or council for $25,000 of coverage or $155 per chapter or council for $50,000 of coverage. The insurance term is based on TU's fiscal year and runs from October 1 to September 30. Also included with the medical coverage is $15,000 of accidental death and $25,0000 of accidental dismemberment. (Note: This year's premiums reflect a $5 increase in the rate.)

Each chapter and council must opt for the coverage themselves – meaning a council cannot file for all the chapters in their states with a single payment. Any chapter or council interested in enrolling in additional accident insurance should fill out the Accident Insurance Application, and return it with your check.


Two Ways Your Holiday Gift Can Benefit TU's Young People in a Big Way

TU Youth MembershipsIf you're passionate about TU and concerned about making sure the next generation cares as much about our rivers and streams as you do, please consider making this holiday season one of giving the gift of TU. There are two great ways to do so:

1. Give to Build a Better Tomorrow!

A gift to the GRTU Tomorrow Fund ensures our ability to serve young people across the country well into the future. TU's Headwaters Youth Program benefits upwards of 55,000 youth each year.

Your gift will be doubled until December 31 thanks to the Guadalupe River Chapter in Texas that has pledged to match any gift given to the fund until we reach our goal of $40K! Even Chris Wood is talking about it!

Donations from chapters, councils, individuals, and businesses are welcome and so far, we've raised $16,740 in donations which have been matched for a total of $33,480!

Click here to donate online, or contact Tara Granke or Franklin Tate to mail your gift.

2. Give a Kid a TU Membership...and a New Fly Rod!

The holidays are a magical time, almost as magical as that first time you caught a fish on a fly you tied yourself. These special connections with the natural world are defining moments in children's lives; whether it's climbing a tree in the backyard or releasing a small trout as part of their Trout in the Classroom program, children need these opportunities to make a lifelong connection to the natural world.

With the holidays right around the corner, now is the perfect time to share your love of fishing and the outdoors through a TU youth membership. Young people receive all of the benefits of a regular member and your donation goes directly to fund the Headwaters Youth Program for programs like Trout in the Classroom, STREAM Girls, and Summer on the Fly.

For an extra special holiday gift, Temple Fork Outfitters and TU have partnered to offer a limited-edition Bug Launcher. This 2-piece 4/5-weight rod and reel combo is the perfect starter kit for the young person in your life, plus it is inscribed with the TU logo and comes with a carrying case.

To purchase the rod as a gift, along with a youth membership purchase or renewal, visit


Year-End Newsletter from TU's Diversity Initiative

Year-end newsletter from TU's Diversity InitiativeTU's Diversity Initiative, originally launched in 2011 as the Women's Initiative, is celebrating the success of the past six years in recruiting and engaging an increasingly diverse range of new members, volunteers and leaders to the TU community.

We are getting closer and closer to our annual fundraising goal! So far, chapters and councils across the country – as well as individual volunteer leaders like you – have contributed $13,140 to the fund. With the GRTU match, that means another $26,280 in critical fund for our Headwaters Youth Program and only another $6,860 needed to reach our goal!

Along with a host of resources, guides and best practices that can be shared across chapters and councils to launch local diversity work, the initiative has also built a thriving online community with more than 1,000 Facebook followers – TU and non-TU volunteers from across the country – who share ideas, cheer each other on, celebrate shared successes and offer advice and counsel to each other.

The December edition of the Diversity Initiative Newsletter "On the Rise" is designed to showcase the best practices and lessons learned by your fellow volunteers in recruiting, retaining and engaging a diverse range of members in TU and in leadership roles.

In this issue you will find special features on:

  • 2017: A Year in Review
  • An Overview of TU's Diversity Initiative
  • The WI to DI Timeline
  • A Special Thank You to Kerri Russell
  • Ways You Can Stay Connected

Read "On the Rise" and view a range of great resources for your local Diversity Initiative work in the online Tacklebox at


Drinking Good Beer Can Help Do Good for Trout Across the Country

Drinking good beear can help do good for trout across the countryIn 2008, Matt Cutter, Henry Wood and Dany Pages, kissed their homes in Cleveland, Atlanta and Argentina goodbye to bring their beer-brewing love affair to Boulder, Colorado.

With that, Upslope Brewing Company was born. But this wasn't just beer. It was great beer. This was beer for people who fish - people who care about fish.

Upslope has been a TU supporter since 2011 and is one of our Gold Level TU Business members.

It all began with the 1% for Rivers initiative. From this modest donation of 1% of profits from the sale of their craft lager, more than $40,000 has been generated for TU programs. Upslope donates this percentage to the state councils or specific campaigns wherever their beer is sold. For example, for beer sold in Colorado, the Colorado Council is the recipient, while in Texas the beneficiary is the Guadalupe Chapter, and in Montana, all proceeds go to our campaign to stop a copper mine on the headwaters of the Smith River.

Upslope is simply a fabulous partner that has promoted our mission throughout our relationship, in retail stores and online. They are our kind of folks.

If you know a business that supports local TU efforts, they should be part of the TU Business membership program. Membership is $295, but businesses that donate to local councils and chapters may be eligible for a complimentary one-year membership. For more information, email Walt Gasson or call him at (307) 630-7398.


All web conference trainings are held at 8 p.m. EST unless otherwise noted. Contact Jeff Yates to register.
Jan. 26-27:
Mid-South Regional Rendezvous: New Braunfels, Texas
March 15:
Embrace A Stream Grant Application Training
April 15:
Embrace A Stream - Deadline to Contact Your Regional Representative
April 27-29:
Western Regional Rendezvous: Keystone, Colo.
May 15:
Embrace A Stream - Deadline to Submit a Draft Grant Application
May 18-20:
Southeast Regional Rendezvous: Davis, West Virginia
June 8-10:
Northeast Regional Rendezvous: Lake Placid, N.Y.
July 15:
Embrace A Stream - Deadline to Submit Final Grant Application
Sept. 19-22:
2018 Annual Meeting: Redding, Calif.


The online leader Tacklebox – – offers a wide range of resources and guides for chapter and council leaders. Some of the most often used resources include:


The online leader Training Video Library – – has recordings of past online trainings, as well as a some simple "how to" videos designed to help volunteers access the online tools available to them. The training videos include:


Help TU Improve Our New Member Recruitment
Trout Unlimited offers a special incentive to our chapters to recruit new members locally by providing you the opportunity to recruit new TU members at half-price ($17.50) and receive a rebate ($15) for every person you bring into our organization. Unfortunately, fewer than 2,000 new members are recruited to TU in this way each year, and we want to grow that figure - and our TU community.
Please answer the following brief survey to help us improve this important New Member Recruitment program.
Click Here to Take the Survey
If you would like to start recruiting new members today for your chapter, simply use this special link to ensure your chapter receives the $15 rebate for every new person you bring into our organization.


Chapter & Council Contract Guidelines
TU chapters and councils routinely enter into contracts to further their conservation work. Many of those contracts, especially those involving stream-improvement or other construction work, have risks for the chapter or council involved and, in some instances, for the national organization, as well. In 2013, the Board of Trustees adopted a policy and prepared a correlating guidance document requiring that the following categories of chapter and council contracts be submitted in draft form to Volunteer Operations staff for review:
1. Any proposed contract under which a chapter or council agrees to indemnify anyone unless the proposed indemnification language limits the indemnification obligations to the acts and omissions of the chapter or council that are covered by TU's insurance.
2. Any proposed contract involving the removal or repair of any dam, any work on abandoned mines, and any work on possibly polluted sites.
3. Any proposed contract with a federal agency when the amount of the contract is $100,000 or more.
4. Any proposed contract with a state agency.
5. Any proposed contract involving a public road or highway or involving a railroad right of way.
For contracts involving uninsured or excessive risk, the Board of Trustees has formalized a process for review involving senior staff and members of the Legal/ Risk Management Committee. To review this process document or to download a copy of the "Contract Guidance for TU Chapters and Councils" document, visit the online Tacklebox, under "Important TU Policies."

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