Are you doing enough to ensure your kids and youth around you have a chance to become the next generation of hunters? One of the activities my wife Sharon and I volunteer for is 4-H Shooting Sports. Yes, that 4-H. It isn’t all horses, hogs and hayrides. And as you can see in this photo from this week, even Peyton Manning takes time out to send pellets downrange!
The national 4-H organization offers one of the most complete and across-the-ages program to gets kids started in shooting sports, and continue that enthusiasm until they become adults. The Shooting Sports program provides firearm safety and instruction in a supervised setting that revolves around scheduled practice with the chance for competitive challenges. Youth eight to 18 take mandatory firearm safety instruction and afterward are introduced to shooting disciplines including air rifle, air pistol, .22 rifle, .22 pistol, muzzleloader, shotgun sports and archery.
County and state competitions allow qualified shooters to advance to national shooting matches. In addition to competition, 4-H Shooting Sports members learn about hunting principles, archery strategies and conservation ethics. This overall education creates self-worth and satisfaction by achieving marksmanship goals.
The satisfaction you feel when an 10-year-old shoots a top score with an air rifle and beams a smile back at you bigger than any Christmas grin is immeasurable. Every week I see improvement in kids as they practice with diligence. And the 4-H experience doesn’t have to end there. Kids can step into other programs that have both a rural theme and pathways to modern careers. Livestock, robotics, crafts and foods are just a sampling of what 4-H offers to get kids involved and active in their community.
Making the next generation of hunters starts and ends with you. Check to see if you can enroll your kids in a 4-H Shooting Sports Program or look into other youth shooting programs hosted by conservation, and local shooting clubs. If you need ideas on youth firearms check out CVA rifles and optics from Nikon Sport Optics. Of course all of these can be found at Cabela’s.