Daughter Day at the Range

We had an awesome day with 19 young ladies and their families this weekend for our National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day.  The girls were able to try their hand at pistol shooting, rifle shooting, and archery, and even got a hands-on lesson in wildlife identification from a representative of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

They enjoyed gun-shaped cookies with pink camo icing from Qtzie Cupcakes, won some cool door prizes, and most importantly, learned the basics of safe gun handling.

Volunteers braved the blazing heat – and being in southeast Texas, it was HOT – but they said it was worth it to see all the smiles on the girls’ faces when they made a good shot.  And let me tell you, these girls were good shots!  It was amazing to see some of them blow the center out of their targets, and was really encouraging when they started off far from center, but walked it in until they were inside the bullseye – that’s when we knew they had it.

Many thanks to those who helped put on the event, and to Houston-Tactical for sponsoring it, and Lynne of Female and Armed for coming up with the idea and supporting all of us.  Next year will be even bigger and better!  For more information on NTYDTTRD, CLICK HERE, and see below for pictures.

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Pregnant Olympic Shooter to Compete in London

At the summer Olympic Games in London this year, rifle shooter Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi, is hoping not to get kicked off the firing line – by her unborn child.   The Malaysian mom will be eight months pregnant when she aims for gold in the 10 meter air rifle competition but said she feels strong and will be talking to her child during the competition, asking for one hour and 15 minutes of calm, with no kicking.

Taibi will be limited to the standing, 10 meter competition, as her third-trimester belly will prevent her from shooting from the prone (lying) position, but to date she feels there is no reason not to compete.

You can read more by clicking on “‘No Kicking’:  Pregnant Shooter Will Compete in London Olympics.”

Summer Camps for Junior Shooters

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.

Appleseed: From Coast to Coast

Read about the adventures Western Rose experienced as she got to instruct at Appleseed events across the country.

The Little Adventures of Western Rose

 

Earlier this month I was asked to write about my experience traveling (literally) from coast to coast teaching at Project Appleseed events in one year. Though this is mostly about my time back east, I also taught at several events in Washington and Idaho. Thanks go to Gwen for proofreading this!

                                                                                      
 
Appleseed: From Coast to Coast
By Western Rose (age: 19)
Volunteer RWVA Instructor and Administrator
 
 

During the summer of 2011, I was given an adventure like none other—traveling from one side of the United States to the other, teaching fundamental rifle marksmanship and the role it has played in our heritage as…

View original post 709 more words

Gun range campout – doesn’t get much better than that!

This weekend was a great time of outdoor fun, when some of us attending a Project Appleseed event camped out at the range for the weekend.

We were in heaven with campfire cooking, rifle shooting, beautiful weather, and good friends – when the only thing missing for me was a shower :/

I’ve mentioned Project Appleseed many times in my posts – such as in:  “No Guns in My House – Well, Maybe,” “Ladies, You Are in Good Company!,” and “Generation HC Member:  Leslie Cernik aka Western Rose,” as well as about five others; so you can tell that I think very highly of the organization.

For those who haven’t checked them out yet, you can go to the Project Appleseed website, or find the Appleseed facebook page for your region of the country for more info.

This is a great entry-level event in which to learn firearm safety, three-position rifle shooting, and to hear some American history that you may never have heard before.

It’s also an opportunity for the experienced rifle shooter to possibly earn their Rifleman patch on the Army Qualification Test, and it is an intensive weekend of training and education that you won’t soon forget.  I encourage you to investigate and find an event in your area to attend.

Although it will soon be too warm in my area to tent camp (in my opinion), I’ve got my iron skillets and dutch ovens oiled up and will be ready for the first hint of cooler weather in the fall.

Now to practice my rifle skills for the next Appleseed.

Gotta get that Rifleman patch!

Generation HC Member: Leslie Cernik aka Western Rose

“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.”

Q.  How has shooting played a part in how you relate to your peers?

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!”

Q.  How do you see yourself involved in shooting 20 years from now?

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.

Click on the Appleseed Texas facebook page or to find the Appleseed facebook page for your area, click here.

Segregated Shooting Sports

Men and women are different.  I know, big surprise, right?  I mean, I’m a big believer in women doing whatever they want to do in life, but I’ve never been feminist enough to believe that both sexes will do equally as well at every endeavor.  Oh, I get my competition on against the men in my life from time to time, but truth be told, I’m just not going to beat them at most sports.  When it comes to Olympic-level competition, however, women are rarely even given the opportunity to go head-to-head with their male counterparts.

Currently, there are only two sporting events in the Olympics that allow men and women to compete against each other, with no special concessions for the women:  Equestrian events and Sailing.  There are also a few mixed events, where a team may be composed of both sexes:  Tennis, Badminton, and Luge.  Now, I think the primary success factor in luge is just pure, all-out craziness, rather than the sex of the person engaging in such a dare-devil activity; and I’ve played tennis and badminton…badly…so I do not think of those sports as great equalizers.

But what about the shooting sports?  Well, as it stands today, there are no Olympic shooting events where men and women compete against each other head-to-head, but it has not always been that way.  When smallbore rifle competitor Margaret Thompson tied with teammate Lanny Basham for the gold at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, and the medal was subsequently awarded to Basham, the International Olympic Committee chose to change the rules and segregate men and women across the board in shooting sport events.

But should that be the case?  Shooting sports are not contact sports, nor is success in those events necessarily based upon the size or strength of the shooter.  It seems to me that when there is an opportunity for men and women to compete on a level playing field against each other, then barriers that do not naturally exist should not be unnaturally imposed.

Wall Street Journal writer, Mark Yost, makes a great case for equality within shooting sports in his recent article:  “Taking Aim at an Old Debate:   Can Female Athletes Compete Against Men?  In Shooting, Yes—But Not in the Olympics.”  Also in the article, he spotlights the Texas Christian University rifle team, the first all-women’s team to win the NCAA rifle championship back in 2010, that went 22-0 in 2011, but finished third in that year’s NCAA National Rifle Championships; and that is currently undefeated and making a run for the top spot again this year.

Collegiate shooting sports still allow men and women to compete against each other, though once competitors qualify for the Olympic Games, they must shoot only against their own gender or on mixed teams.  But while the segregation is what some believe to be “sexist” in origin, it has also allowed for a greater number of women to compete in the shooting sports by opening the field to more competitors, in general.

Another article on this topic comes from USA Shooting in USA Shooting Viewpoint:  Men vs. Women in Competitive Shooting.  Check out both stories and see if you believe that female shooters today could compete head-to-head with male shooters, as many are doing and…”Winning!”