To be honest, hunting really isn’t about hunting, said Curtis Stambaugh ’94, president of the Carlisle Fish and Game Association. Well, it is—Stambaugh estimates that 90 percent of the meat his family eats is game—but it’s more than that.
“If you grew up in a hunting family, you know this. Hunting is so little about the act of hunting. It’s about the memories, the time with family.” Stambaugh said he has been hunting with his father, who was a hunting safety instructor, since he was five or six years old.
Stambaugh earned his bachelor’s degree from Ship in criminal justice, then pursued a law degree. He worked as an attorney for seventeen years before becoming assistant general counsel for
Sunoco Logistics. But his true passion lies in the outdoors.
Following in his father’s footsteps, he joined the Carlisle Fish and Game Association in 2003, was elected president in 2013, and now, too, is a hunting safety instructor.
Established in 1940, the Carlisle Fish and Game Association has 120 acres and more than 1,700 members. Stambaugh said the organization is one of the area’s largest, and the facility has plenty to offer, from a rifle range to a clay course to trapping. As president, he runs the meetings, pays the bills, and promotes the organization.
Carlisle Fish and Game hosts three hunter safety classes a year that can handle up to 100 students at a time. Stambaugh said they average about 250 students a year. The class has changed over the years, dropping from two days of instruction to one day with required outside reading. “The outdoors compete with so many other things with kids,” he said. “As a parent,
time becomes important.”
Fortunately, from his standpoint as a hunter safety instructor, he said interest remains strong. The course teaches outdoors and firearms safety, providing great instruction for anyone who might keep guns in their home, he said. Parents and grandparents often retake the course with first-time students to brush up on their skills. And female attendance has increased about 30 percent in recent years, he said.
In 2005, Stambaugh was named a Leadership Cumberland Fellow, opening up additional leadership and volunteer opportunities. Stambaugh said the program creates networking opportunities for fellows and teaches them which leadership model works best with their personality.
Part of the role of a fellow is to serve on a local charitable board. “It’s a great opportunity to see a board in action,” he said. “Community service is a phenomenal thing, but you should do something you’re interested in.”
Again, his love of the outdoors led him to the Carlisle Summerfair. “When I was in law school, I attended a few of the Summerfair events. The concept I really liked—free family events.”
Stambaugh said Summerfair began about forty years ago when gas prices skyrocketed
and staycations gained popularity. Organized around July 4, Summerfair offers about thirty free activities for the local community such as a 5K and 10K run, an ice cream social, carnival activities, a town bike ride, entertainment, arts and crafts, and outdoor movies. Naturally, Stambaugh gravitated to the Children’s Fishing Derby, which is held at LeTort
“I really enjoy watching a four-year-old catch his or her first fish,” he said.
Although he has stepped down from his leadership position, he continues to help schedule, organize, and run the event. He also works with Yellow Breeches Anglers and Conservation Association, which provides the fish, to measure each young angler’s catch and award prizes.
Whether in his role at Carlisle Fish and Game or helping to organize the fishing derby at Summerfair, Stambaugh’s hope is that he can play a role in providing more outdoor opportunities to local youth.
“A common theme in a lot of things with me is the outdoors,” he said. “I made great memories with my dad. I want to see other kids experience that.”