Meet the store manager on a mission: getting kids outside

Lee Wiegand is the General Manager at Cabela’s in Sidney, Nebraska, and he is living out one of the conservation pillars of Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s by connecting new audiences to the outdoors.

During his time away from the store, he works with the High Plains Chapter of Nebraska Pheasants Forever on a volunteer basis. He helps to coordinate live pheasant hunts for kids under 16, partners with American Heroes in Action to set up annual veterans hunts, and organizes a youth pollinator event, which aims to educate kids on the importance of pollinators and their habitats.

It’s a full schedule of volunteer work, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s worth every minute when you get to see these kids or veterans have these experiences,” he said. “It’ll light your fire to keep doing it and figure out ways to make the experiences even better.”

Lee has been with Cabela’s for 22 years, and was recently recognized as the first recipient of the Rooster Buster Chapter Mentor of the Year award from Nebraska Pheasants Forever, where he is the Youth Activities Officer for the High Plains Chapter. This new award honors an NPF volunteer who goes above and beyond in helping the organization with its conservation and education efforts.

“I’m certainly still surprised by it, I really feel like it’s an award for our chapter and community,” he said. “It really is an honor, but it’s the whole chapter that gets it done with a great group and a great board. I’m very thankful.”

Lee and other volunteers coordinate the Youth Mentor Hunts – live pheasant hunts for kids under 16. As the Youth Activities Director for Pheasant Forever, he helps the youngsters along every step of the way, from studying habitats to providing and ultimately giving kids the opportunity to bag their first pheasant.

It’s a perfect fit for Lee.

“Being a part of Bass Pro Shops and seeing the commitment that Johnny Morris makes to conservation and especially his focus on youth, it’s very inspiring,” he said. “I’m elated to work for a company in these times that has conservation as a pillar of their business. It’s critical that we get youth involved in the outdoors, especially hunting and shooting sports.”

Lee thinks it’s critical to get youth involved in the outdoors, especially hunting and shooting sports. Thanks to his work, he’s helping to empower the next generation of sportsmen and women.

“Sometimes outdoorsmen take for granted the experiences they’ve had opportunities to pursue, and many young people just don’t know what it’s like to go on a really good hunt,” Lee said. “It will really light your fire when one of these hunters tells you that this experience was one of the best days of their lives. I feel like it’s more important than ever … to get kids outside and experiencing the outdoors in any way (they) can.”