Local 4-H leaders are always looking for new ways achieve the organization’s goal: “[to engage] youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development.” Bowman County Extension Agent Max Robison and other leaders see shooting sports, such as archery, air rifle shooting, and trap shooting, as the next best way to get kids involved in the program.
By Frank Turner
Robison said that a local shooting sports program would provide an avenue for kids to learn about safety and give students a chance to get involved in extracurricular activities during the winter.
“If sports or other school activities are not someone’s big drive – if there is something else for a student to do during the winter like archery, it would give them a great opportunity,” he said.
According to Robison, there are 4-H members already interested in shooting sports. Every week, a small group of dedicated Bowman County 4-H members drive to Slope County to participate in the available shooting programs in Amidon. Although driving to Amidon works for some, local 4-H leaders are looking to make the shooting sports more accessible by creating a shooting program closer to home in Bowman County.
Robison said that creating a local shooting sports program in Bowman County would likely “get a larger number of kids involved in shooting sports if there was something local where they wouldn’t have to drive up to Amidon.”
Right now, the program is in the early stages of fruition and many logistical issues still need solved. Robison said that to get the program started, 4-H leaders would need to find suitable locations to facilitate the new sports. Once they have determined a location, the organization plans to look into available grants for the shooting equipment.
Even thought the new program is a ways from complete, Robison said he is excited at the potential its ability to attract new kids to the 4-H organization. He expressed that 4-H isn’t necessary all about agriculture. Instead, Robison said that 4-H is about living up to organization’s mission statement – getting kids involved and helping them “reach their fullest potential.”
“There is a common misconception that with 4-H that you have to have livestock or show an animal,” he said. “You can do that, but there are a number of other activities, including shooting sports, that kids can do… It’s not just agriculture, it’s a little bit of everything.”
To participate in 4-H archery and air rifle, students must be at least 8 years old by the time of enrollment. Trapshooting and other firearms shooting requires the completion of a hunter safety course.
Although the new program does not have a set date, 4-H leaders plan on hosting a shooting sports related meeting mid-November to work out more details and gauge community interest. The meeting is set for November 18th at 6:00 p.m. in the west wing of the Four Seasons in Bowman. Robison said anyone interested in shooting sports is welcome to attend the open meeting.