Minnesota’s first female Friends of the National Rifle Association leader comes from Pequot Lakes.
Nancy Schroeder heads the Brainerd area group.
The Pequot Lakes resident is the first woman in that role for Minnesota, as far as Scott Lembke, Minnesota State NRA representative, can remember.
A second woman started this year heading the north metro region.
“It’s thousands of hours of work,” Schroeder said. “And I love it.”
Schroeder is meticulous, to say the least.
She puts her personal phone number on all the fliers, encouraging members to contact her with any issues, concerns or ideas. She sends out hand-written thank-you notes to donors. She knows about the family and business troubles of some those donors. She’s able to tell you how many people ate the chicken dinner and who chose prime rib at each event, and she just might bring some fresh baked treats to smaller meetings.
“It’s really important to pay attention to details,” she said.
Schroeder started her involvement with the group three years ago at the organization’s annual banquet.
It was there she saw the need for an organized leader with attention to detail to get the group moving forward.
And she knew just the person for the job: Nancy Schroeder.
It’s Schroeder’s attention to detail and organization that makes her a successful leader, Lembke said.
“I can’t tell if it’s the female perspective or just Nancy, but there’s exploding membership,” he said. “She’s exceptional. Under her leadership interest has exploded.”
The Brainerd area chapter earned the honor last year of having the biggest membership increase with the previous membership of 53 people jumping to 165 last year.
That’s thanks to recent politics surrounding gun laws, Schroeder said, as well as people finding out about the Brainerd area chapter, which started four years ago.
Schroeder wants to keep reaching out to more people and increase involvement with the area’s Friends of the NRA. She’s also promoting other women across the state to take leadership roles in the organization.
Stereotypically, the face of the NRA and Friends of the NRA has been male. There hasn’t been any negative word spoken about Schroeder taking the leadership role.
“I work harder so I don’t miss any details and I don’t want people to say something was missed because a woman did it,” she said.
There have been more women popping up everywhere in the organization, she said, both on the governing board and in the classes.
“The face of the NRA is changing,” she said.
Some states have only women on the committees, Lembke said.
The Brainerd lakes area is a prime spot for this type of group, Schroeder said.
And she plans on promoting it more and more.
“We’re going to blow the seams open on everything — numbers, fundraisng, donations, everything,” she said.
“When you talk about shooting sports and wildlife, you’re talking about the Brainerd area,” she continued. “It so defines what people do here for livelihood, pleasure, income. It’s everything.”
And until someone comes along that can lead the group better, Schroeder will be there, speaking up for and promoting the right to bear arms.
The group is hosting its annual fundraising banquet at 5:30 p.m., March 14 at Breezy Point Resort. For more information, go to www.friendsofnra.org.