Some shoot to increase concentration and practice discipline. Some shoot to gain confidence. Some shoot to better their aim and boost their bounty on hunting trips.
More than 125 local youth (ages eight and up) are members of the Anoka County 4-H sport shooting club. They meet on a regular basis – January through September – and learn gun safety, practice trap and target shooting, and increase their knowledge of Minnesota’s wildlife and the environment.
The sport shooting program includes workshops and classes on BB gun, air rifle, archery, 22 rifle, black powder guns, shot gun and more.
Safety training and shooting are key elements to the program and last month Fridley’s Paintbrush Shooters chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) presented the Anoka County 4-H sport shooting club with a $500 gift.
“The NWTF has really done well for us,” said 4-H sport shooting volunteer Joel Godin.
Before presenting the check July 25, Paintbrush Shooters chapter chairman Dave (Meach) Meacham said the money is intended to be used to enhance the 4-H program.
Godin explained how the sport shooting club plans to use the $500.
“We like to keep registration fees and dues really low,” he said. “We supply the equipment and everything that’s needed (to participate in the sport shooting club) so all the kids have to do is show up.”
And Godin listed the many lessons learned by youth participating in the sport shooting club.
“These kids learn so much – not just how to shoot a gun or a bow,” Godin said. “They learn discipline. They learn concentration and focus. And they also learn about wildlife and the environment. Sport shooting really is like no other group.”
“NWTS’ big thing right now is youth shooting,” said Meacham. “We like to do what we can to support those programs because studies show there are something like 2,000 percent fewer violent shooting incidents when kids learn gun safety and participate in sport shooting.”
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]