If you have read this blog in the past, please head over to my newest blog by clicking on High Caliber Cate. I am going to put the Heritage Family blog on hold for now. High Caliber Cate will cover a lot of the same topics as HF, but will focus on women and juniors, as well. It will also be tied in with my Rowdy Girls facebook page, which is a group of women whose focus is firearms, self-defense, preparedness, and basically just changing the world for the better. You can find Rowdy Girls here: https://www.facebook.com/RowdyGirlsGroup. Come join us!
According to Military.com, “More than 1.7 million children under the age of 18 have at least one parent serving in the armed forces. And it is estimated that more than 900,000 children have had one or both parents deployed multiple times.”
The month of April has been designated as Month of the Military Child in an effort to reach out to these young people and let them know Americans support them and their families. And with the slogan of “Kids Serve Too!” the National Military Family Association has designed a summer camp just for these young heroes.
Operation Purple camps (the color was chosen as a conglomeration of all the basic military colors and represents all branches) “…are open to children and families of active duty, National Guard or Reserve service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service, and NOAA,” according to NMFA.
Camps are offered at 17 locations this year, in 14 states across the nation, and are available to kids 7 to 17 in most (although some are 8-18) – and the best part is that the camps are free for young people whose parents have been, will be, or are currently deployed. The goal of the camps is to give military children the tools they need to help deal with the stresses that result from a parent’s deployment, through a memorable camp experience.
As someone who has a military child, and grandchildren that will deal with their parent’s deployment, I can appreciate the need for kids who are experiencing separation and other issues that only they can understand, to get together with their peers for a time of relating, relaxation, and recreation.
For information on registering for Operation Purple camps, go to the camp registration page at www.MilitaryFamily.org. The camps fill up fast, however, so act quickly, or pass the info along to others that might benefit from it.
Summer is the time for kids to head out the door and have fun at camp, and junior shooters are no exception. Summer camps designed especially for young marksmen are a great opportunity for kids who are already experienced shooters to get together with others in a fun and safe environment and brush up on their skills.
I will focus on four camps in this post: The MGM Targets Junior Shooters Camp, NRA National Junior Pistol Camp, NRA National Junior Smallbore Rifle Camp, and the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Action Shooting Junior Clinic (the only one not held in the summer).
MGM Targets will host their 2012 Junior Camp on July 21st through 23rd, in Boise, Idaho. Cost of the camp is $260 per junior shooter, which also includes lodging for a parent or guardian (parents/guardians will also receive two half days of instruction). A limit of 60 campers ensures optimal training time by some of the nation’s best shooting instructors.
Campers must be an active member of USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association), IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association), or SASS (the Single Action Shooting Society aka Cowboy Shooting), and have competed in at least four pistol matches, and possess good handgun handling skills. This is NOT a beginner’s firearms safety class.
Junior Competitor, Allie “Allie Cat” Barrett, who I previously interviewed and wrote about HERE, has been accepted to the camp again this year and has said she is really looking forward to the fun.
The National Rifle Association also sponsors camps for young shooters. The NRA National Junior Pistol Camp and National Junior Smallbore Rifle Camp are the intermediate events held during NRA National Rifle and Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio. Pistol camp is held from July 10th through the 15th, and rifle camp is held July 21st through the 26th.
Intermediate to advanced shooters must be 12-18 years of age, and enrollment is limited to 50 students for pistol camp and 72 for smallbore rifle camp. Standard registration is $225 per student, plus housing, food, and other expenses.
This year the 5th annual U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Action Shooting Junior Clinic will be held August 13-17, in Ft. Benning, Georgia. Cost for the camp is only $35, and it is limited to 32 shooters. This advanced, smallbore rifle camp is open to shooters 14-18, and accompanying parents are welcome to attend classes with their children. Shooters must have participated in NRA or USA Shooting matches and acceptance to the camp is based on previous matches shot.
If your child is a pistol or rifle shooter, or may be interested in learning to shoot, one of the best ways to get them into the NRA or USA Shooting matches is through an organization such as the Venture Scouts or the county 4H clubs. Both of these organizations offer shooting sports and make participation in these matches available to their members.
Contact the individual host organizations for each camp for exact details or more information.
“Generation HC,” or the “High Caliber Generation” is what I’ve begun calling young people I’ve come into contact with in the world of shooting sports. These “kids” are extremely focused, mature, and disciplined – but they have a lot of fun, as well.
The first Gen HC member I reported on was “Allie Cat” Barrett, and you can read that interview here. Allie is a member of the fast-growing sport of practical pistol shooting (and I hope to talk her into writing a detailed description of her favorite sport for me soon), but we are about to turn 180 degrees and talk with a young woman that is a Project Appleseed rifle instructor – at the ripe old age of 18. 🙂
Leslie Cernik of Idaho, aka Western Rose, is an amazing young woman whose dad taught her to shoot a rifle at an early age, and who actually became a Revolutionary War Veterans Association Instructor and Range Safety Officer at the age of 16.
As Leslie says of her early days, “My Dad started to teach each of us to shoot as soon as we could tell him, from memory, Cooper’s four safety rules. He started us out with a small .22 pistol. When we were big enough, Dad would put us behind a Marlin Model 60 .22 rifle with iron sights and the use of a big log as a rest.”
She explains her introduction to the Appleseed organization by saying, “When I was 12 or 13 my Dad asked if I would like to go with him to something called ‘Project Appleseed.’ I had no idea what it was, other than I would be shooting all weekend with my Dad. That sounded like fun, so off we went.
I learned the Steady Hold Factors of prone, sitting, and standing; I found out the great secret of needing to find your Natural Point Of Aim; I was taught the Six Steps of Firing a Shot; and on top of all that, just when I needed a break, the instructors would tell history.
I have always liked to read, but have never been good at remembering dates, events, names…until that weekend. I learned SO much [Revolutionary War history] that I wouldn’t have learned any other way. The instructors were definitely welcoming to me, even though I was, by far, the youngest attendee AND the only girl on the line…not to mention the only .22 shooter.
At the end of the weekend, I left with a smile, new friends, and the high score of my family (a 198 of 250). That was my first experience with any kind of organized shooting event and I loved it.”
Leslie said the ratio of men-women-children on an Appleseed line has changed drastically over the years and now entire families are signing up for the events. And if you are unfamiliar with Project Appleseed, this is an organization that teaches rifle marksmanship and the importance of the American Revolutionary rifleman to the freedoms we enjoy today. All levels are welcome at these very inexpensive events, from beginner to expert, and those who excel at the course may earn their Rifleman patch.
Leslie is not only an Appleseed instructor, she is also a homeschooling high school senior, as well as a college freshman, a writer, a horsewoman, photographer, blogger, and much more. Her Appleseed involvement has even moved beyond the shooting line, and into administration of the organization.
I asked Leslie some questions about her shooting and will let her speak for herself:
Q. What three life lessons have you learned from shooting?
A. “Shooting has taught me persistence, confidence, and how to relax. Seriously. Persistence is on that list because it’s not always easy. You have to work through the problems and find a solution. You can’t give up. That’s something that easily transfers into everyday life (and school work!).
Confidence is listed because when you go from not doing so well, to achieving a goal, it will boost your confidence to know that you can work through this issue, that persistence will pay off. Plus, there is nothing like the feeling of confidence when you get down behind a rifle, see a target, and know you can hit it. You realize you aren’t helpless.
How to relax is another thing that I’ve found particularly helpful. I used to tense up when I was shooting, so for me, learning to relax in a tense situation is very useful, and not only in shooting.”
A. “Presently, a lot of my peers aren’t super interested in shooting or history. That has been troubling, but I still definitely enjoy my time with them. Maybe someday they’ll come along with me to a Project Appleseed event and realize that this is THEIR heritage. I have found that I definitely don’t ‘fit’ in just one age group. I thoroughly enjoy learning from those who are older than myself, and then taking what I learn and teaching it to others.”
Q. What is your favorite firearm?
A. “My favorite firearm would definitely be a rifle. I REALLY like the M1 Garand. That would be my favorite specific rifle, but I do enjoy shooting the M1A, AR, and the .22s, as well.”
Q. How has your schooling affected your shooting “career,” or vice versa?
A. “Being homeschooled, I was hardly ever put in a classroom with a bunch of kids my age. That made me learn to communicate with both adults and kids. I have found that learning isn’t just in the classroom; it’s all the time. In shooting, I’m with people who are anywhere from 13 years younger than myself, to 60+ years older. I have a lot of fun being with folks that are older than myself and learning from them, so it works out well. Also, it gives me an appreciation for the wisdom of the gray head – ok, you don’t actually have to be going gray to be wise” 🙂
Q. What is it like to compete (and win) against people older than yourself?
A. “Competing has always been somewhat hard for me, in that I tense up (good thing I’ve learned to relax!) Now I enjoy competing with folks of all ages. I now know that if I lose I’ll be learning more, and I’ll come back to try again and again until I win. Winning is exhilarating and continues to build my confidence.”
Q. What would you like to tell new shooters – young people that are just getting interested in shooting?
A. “I think I would tell new shooters that it is a lifetime of fun. Shooting is a journey, where people will come alongside you, help you along the way, and before you know it, you’ll be helping others who are newer to shooting than you are. You will learn more than you can even imagine – and shooting a .22 doesn’t hurt. Take that first step, come on out, and enjoy it!”
A. “In 20 years, I hope that I will still be teaching others how to shoot, and telling others about our mutual heritage. I also hope that I will have been able to shoot a perfect score on the AQT (Army Qualification Test). I would like to learn more pistol shooting and maybe shoot in competitions (both rifle and pistol) sometime.”
Of her role as instructor, Leslie said, “Instructing has helped me grow significantly as a person. The first time I talked in front of a crowd, I was 16 and there were 72 attendees and 6-8 instructors. I was honestly freaked out about the idea of talking in front of a group. Talking to a small group of friends was hard enough, but now I was talking to folks that, for the most part, I’ve never met before.
The other instructors, all quite a bit older than myself, really helped me work through being scared and getting up in front of people, despite my fear. I didn’t have the confidence that I wouldn’t really mess up, but I knew that if I did, the other instructors would pick me up and help me along.
My ‘trail’ hasn’t been the adventure of one person, it’s been the adventure of many. People from all over this nation have come alongside me, picked me up when I failed, guided me and taught me. I continue to be taught by them, and many more have become my teachers, friends, and family over the last couple of years. Each has built on the foundation that my family, specifically my father, gave me. I have become an extension of my teachers, and I only hope that I can teach others as well as they have taught me.”
Leslie says she thoroughly enjoys shooting, but has also come to love instructing; and with a family of instructors to call her own (Mom, Shawn, instructor and administrator; Dad, Larry, Idaho State Coordinator for Appleseed; 16 year-old sister, Heather, instructor and administrator; and 14 year-old brother, Patrick, instructor), this group is sure to continue to instill a love for shooting, and American History, in all they come into contact with.
Check out Leslie’s blog at The Little Adventures of Western Rose.
Rounds & Roses is now part of the Outdoor Blogger Network, a site where writers can share their love of the outdoors with all who venture in. As stated on the OBN website: “One of the main goals of the Outdoor Blogger Network is to provide a centralized site on the web for writers and readers of Outdoor related blogs to come and peruse a vast listing of the best Outdoor blogs in existence.”
The site, which now hosts 1218 outdoor blogs listed in over 72 categories, was the brainchild of friends and fishing buddies, Rebecca Garlock, aka The Outdooress, and Joe Wolf of Flowing Waters. The two dreamed up the concept of OBN while on a fly fishing trip for trout in Oregon. They believed that “…a unified group of Bloggers has a much better chance of being taken seriously by the Outdoor industry as a viable part of the media.”
Based on the huge number of outdoor bloggers, each with their own following, who participate, as well as the large number of national media outlets and businesses that have jumped onboard, it appears Garlock and Wolf have been extremely successful in their endeavor.
Whether your love is shooting sports or kayaking, fishing or hiking, outdoor photography, conservation, hunting, or myriad other activities that involve the great outdoors, you are sure to find what you are looking for at Outdoor Blogger Network.
We are proud to be part of this group and encourage you to head over to OBN and discover the great outdoors – oh, and be sure to leave a comment for us while you are there. You can find us under Family Outdoors in the Outdoor Blog Directory, or by clicking here.
For those that still have members of the under-18 crowd at home, or who know of young people in that category, did you know the NRA publishes a monthly magazine just for junior shooters? You and/or your junior can view the February issue online, as well as previous issues, by clicking here: NRA InSights: News for Young Shooters.
Each month the magazine brings news, contests, stories, games, and more to young people interested in hunting and the shooting sports. There are also tips, conservation news, podcasts, camp listings, tons of photos, and too much more to list.
Check it out, and don’t miss this month’s feature story on Cool Jobs: Exhibition Shooter – Ramping It Up! by Linda Hoff.