There are a range of feelings I have when it comes to announcing my farewell. Excitement for future opportunities, nervousness for what lies ahead, and sadness for having to leave such an incredible organization. I have accepted a job as the Web Content Manager with the National Cattleman's Beef Association so I will be leaving Colorado TU, effective June 30, 2017.
I want to thank all of you, the volunteer leaders, supporters, and friends of Colorado TU for all of the help and support you have given me. Having worked with you all over the last two plus years has helped me grow into a better person than I could have ever imagined. The mentorships, friendships, and lesson learned will never be forgotten as I continue with my career.
My time with CTU started in 2014 as the first Communications Intern. Then in the summer of 2015 I came on as a part time position which slowly evolved into a full time position. I fulfilled the duties of admin, communications, youth education, volunteer coordinator, raffle salesman, photographer, and so much more!
None of that could have been accomplished without the help of you all. Time and time again you worked with me to help me learn the programs and projects, you forgave me when I messed up, and helped me learn how I can best contribute to the organization.
I will miss dearly the lively discussions at the board meetings, the talk of how to fish certain streams, working booths at events, the camaraderie of the organization, and the Fall Meetings and Rendezvous... as long as I was in bed by 10!
I first got involved with Trout Unlimited a few years prior to my internship when I was in high school. I got a letter in the mail that said if I joined I would receive 15 flies. For someone just starting to fly fish, this seemed like gold- 15 flies and a chance to join with other anglers. So, like so many others who join, I thought I would be joining a fishing club.
But much to my surprise it was even better.
Trout Unlimited is so much more than just anglers getting together to share fishing stories and photos. While we love to do that, it is a shared passion of our rivers and sport that joins everyone together. Whether it's connecting youth to their local watersheds, protecting native trout species, helping a veteran learn to fish, cleaning up the stream bank, or restoring sections of a river, there is no shortage of passion from the members of this great organization.
While I joined TU to learn more about fly fishing, I am probably just a slightly better angler than when I got started- and probably the one person with TU who wears a Rockies hat more than a fishing hat. But the passion of TU has been instilled in my DNA. The Colorado River headwaters hold a special place in my heart. However, I never realized the extent of the issues effecting the headwaters until I joined TU. From there I learned more about it and through that, the fire was lit. I wanted to protect the Upper Colorado because to me that is a place worth saving.
And while for me it's the Colorado Headwaters, there is a stream or river out there for all of you that holds a special place in your heart. A place that is worth saving. So as long as you feel that a place is worth saving, I will be right alongside you and TU, fighting like hell to save it.
I will miss working with all of you in my current capacity but this is not the end of my time with CTU. I plan to stay involved through volunteering with chapters and programs, helping with the state council, and being a continued resource and contact for you all.
If you want to get in touch with me, my email is Jeff.Florence2@yahoo.com and my number is 303-912-5230 (the same number a lot of you already have for me).
If you see me on the river don't feel shy to come over and say hi... I'll be the guy getting the fly stuck in the tree after every other cast.