BROKEN BOW— The 12th annual Sylvester’s Chili Cook-off and benefit auction took place on April 7 and consisted of 31 different chili recipes for attendees to enjoy. The benefit and auction raised $13,070.25 to be donated to the Hunters for Youth (HFY) program.
HFY founders Greg and Holly Johnson accepted a check from Sly’s on Friday afternoon from Fred and Jeanne Schumacher of Sly’s.
“We’re very blessed,” Holly Johnson said. “It’s amazing,” Greg added. “We feel honored for them to be doing this for us since we’re so new and not very many people know about us,” Holly said.
Hunters for Youth, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization and is now incorporated as of Monday. Its mission is to “help get our youth outdoors and keep Nebraska’s hunting and fishing heritage alive.”
HFY aims to teach local youth about conservation, respect, accountability, hunting, fishing, shooting, archery, game/fish laws, and how to be a responsible youth in the great outdoors. The organization implements a mentor program for one-on-one outdoor experiences and also group programs, without costing youth or their parents who might not otherwise have these opportunities to enjoy nature in Nebraska.
“Without all the support there’s no way that we could do what we do with these kids and it’s amazing,” Greg said.
Greg said since the idea came about in 2015, he and Holly have worked patiently to grow the program. HFY ‘chapters’ are located in Broken Bow (Loup Valley Chapter), North Platte (Flat Rock Chapter), and St. Paul (APEX Outdoorsmen Chapter) and the headquarters are located in Berwyn. The couple hopes to grow the organization not only state wide, but throughout the nation.
Greg added on Friday that land owners and parents have been supportive. The Johnsons estimate that nearly 200 students have been involved in HFY programs and/or events. They plan to have a booth for the second year in a row at the Nebraska State Fair and also worked with the Outfitter in Kansas to help send a nine-year-old boy from Omaha, who has autism, on a trophy hunt next fall.
Fred and Jeanne Schumacher said they were very excited to continue the annual benefit this year, especially for an organization that aims to get kids an amazing outdoor experience. A little goes a long way and the $13,000 raised in one night helps prove that point.
“We can’t change the world, but we can change our world,” Jeanne said.