SCHROON LAKE - The Schroon Lake Fish & Game Club is much more than a social group for outdoorsmen.
The largest organization in the community, the club has a long history of service - which makes it the Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce 2010 Citizen/Organization of the Year.
"The chamber of commerce will be recognizing the significant contributions that the organization has made to our community and area for many years," said Rosemarie Ritson of the chamber. "The Fish and Game Club is a very dedicated group that helps with conservation issues, including preserving the quality of our lakes and streams, and provides training programs and other opportunities for youth."
Don Sage, club president, said the award is a surprise and an honor.
"We didn't know we had even been nominated, so it was a real surprise," Sage said. "Over the years the chamber has honored a lot of wonderful people and groups. It's an honor to be chosen."
The Schroon Lake Fish & Game Club will be formally recognized at the annual chamber dinner Tuesday, June 15, at Drake's Restaurant. The social hour will be 6 to 7 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7 p.m.
The price for the dinner is $26 and is all inclusive. The public is welcome to attend. Reservations must be obtained through the chamber office at 532-7675 by Tuesday, June 8.
With more than 250 members the Schroon Lake Fish & Game Club is the community's largest organization. It was formed in 1927 by a group of hunting and fishing enthusiasts. Harold Swan was its first president.
Meetings were held at the Community House until the club purchased land and constructed its clubhouse on Hoffman Road in the 1940s.
While the club was formed to promote conservation of wildlife and the environment, it has become much more.
In the 1930s the club assisted the federal Civilian Conservation Corps and began youth programs.
"I don't think people realize everything we do," Bunny Surprenant, club vice president, said, "especially with youth. Except for the school, there's no one more involved with youth in our community."
Besides hosting youth hunter safety courses, the club sponsors the local Boy Scout troop, is home to the town Little League program, sends children to Camp Colby conservation camp, awards scholarships to graduating Schroon Lake Central School students and holds an annual youth fishing derby.
"We realize our youth will be our future members," Sage said. "It's important to get them interested and keep them involved."
The club has also contributed to many local projects in the community and at the school and sponsored environmental workshops for teachers.
The Schroon Lake Fish & Game Club takes part in community events like the annual Fourth of July celebration and serves as home to the Schroon Lake-North Hudson Snowmobile Club.
The club may be best known for its annual lobster and steak bake that attracts hundreds of people each September. It serves as the club's primary fundraiser along with its annual ice fishing tournament in March.