Ann Religa

As December rolls around each year we think about things we are thankful for. I am so lucky to have a great job where I work with the 4-H world. Each day is different for me. I work with teachers, parents and the general public that are all connected to one important thing,  today’s youth!

As December rolls around each year we think about things we are thankful for. I am so lucky to have a great job where I work with the 4-H world. Each day is different for me. I work with teachers, parents and the general public that are all connected to one important thing,  today’s youth! One time I had an adult who said “I really feel sorry for you, you work with kids.” Well, I find them very refreshing. They keep me up to date on everything and I am sure that is what keeps me so optimistic. I do my best to give them opportunties too learn new things and they do the same for me. I work with those kids, actually I love kids and the parents that go along with them.
Today I want to tell you about our 4-H shooting sports project. Each year in the fall we teach a beginners shooting sports class.
It is a basic class. The 4-H members learn about gun safety using an air rifle or BB gun. The 4-H members then participate in 10 weeks of class where they come weekly and practice what they have learned.
The is the first of many opportunities in the 4-H shooting sports project. The youth who are really interested in target shooting move up to air pistols. We have youth who compete in competitions all winter long with their shooting sports projects. Our 4-H Shooting Sports program is coordinated by Gail Lanier. All of our instructors attend a mandatory state training where they learn about teaching kids, and also they learn about the area they want to teach. Our BB gun and air rifle instructors are Manuel Camacho, Gary Lanier, Larry Church and Kevin Duerksen. Nathan Lanier is a junior young adult instructor.
In late spring we will start our 4-H archery project and the instructors for that are Tony Koehn and Scott McCloud. This past spring, summer and into fall they taught more than 20 kids. Virgina Jury taught Archery and then she has transitioned to just trap shooting along with Kevin Duerksen. In early summer we will start the shotgun project and the youth will shoot traps at a local trap range. So, there are lots of opportunities in the 4-H shooting sports areas. It takes a lot of money to purchase the pellet guns, shotguns, bows and supplies needed to teach shooting sports.
 In Harvey County I have been very fortunate to have excellent volunteers to teach the program. I also have another partner to help me provide the supplies we need for the program. It is our local Harvey County NRA and National Rifle Association. The Harvey County NRA hosts a banquet for their members and guests. At this banquet they raise funds to give to organizations like 4-H. We have been very blessed to be a recipient of funds from the NRA. This grant has allowed us to reach youth, parents and grandparents teaching the sport of shooting and promoting safety.
As you read this story if you have youth who are interested in shooting sports please feel free to contact our office so we can provide you more information about the 4-H shooting sports program. Also if you would like one of the 4-H members to come to your local civic club and tell you about their project please give me a call. Again a special thanks to the National Rifle Association and our local Harvey County Chapter of the National Rifle Association.

Ann Religa is the Harvey County Extension agent, 4-H and youth.