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How to get new young shooters in the game

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by cubancigar2000, Nov 19, 2009.

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  1. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

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    I know this has been kicked around and I have done some thread searching. I have been asked to come up with a plan to encourage young shooters to get involved in our sport. We have a small but very solid club with no financial problems and can afford to do this. I just need some ideas. I heard there is a group in NC that is doing this and I imagine there are a lot of them that I am unaware of. Looking at our membership is sad. It is made up of mostly 55 and over male adults. If you have good solid info that you feel would be useful, please respond to my email addy above.
     
  2. KEYBEAR

    KEYBEAR Active Member

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    The best way is to offer to pay for everything .

    Works every time .
     
  3. Post  2

    Post 2 TS Member

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    You can pay youths way and they will show up when it is free but the trick is to keep them coming and get encouragement from their parents. You might look at the Y.E.S program that is put on by some of the states in the PITA. www.shootpita.com. Over all from the thousands of dollars being spent there is still little growth but we keep trying. Post-2
     
  4. KEYBEAR

    KEYBEAR Active Member

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    Sorry When you stop paying they stop coming
     
  5. fssberson

    fssberson Active Member

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    We are going to be undertaking a membership development program aimed at the 45+ market. Those are the people we need who have the money and time to be members for the next 20-30 years while bringing new, fresh leadership skills.
     
  6. shannon391

    shannon391 Active Member

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    Leave positive impressions and fond memories along with your guns, estate and trust fund.
     
  7. jbmOU

    jbmOU Member

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    I shot on a SCTP team for three years. We would have a team practice every two weeks or so until the state shoot where we would shoot 2 rounds each, and the club would pay for the targets and supply the ammunition. They also offered guns if anyone did not have one. However, people on the team were encouraged to participate in the club's youth trap league as well, as added practice. Participants in this league were given a discounted price on targets, but had to supply the ammunition. Though i did not particpate in the league due to living a good distance away from the club, it seemed to be very effective in getting young shooters involved. I would say that this worked extremely well for the club. From my first year to my 3rd year shooting on the team, i would say that it atleast doubled in size, and any time i went to the club for a regular public practice night, at least half of the people shooting were junior shooters.

    The club was very focused on getting youths involved in shooting in general, and also had other shooting activities oriented around younger shooters.The parents were also very involved with their children, and helped to encourage them which is essential.
     
  8. Joe Smoke

    Joe Smoke Member

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    We started a youth program at our gun club in NW Ohio in January. It has worked well to bring in new youth, from age 11-17, and usually brings in their dad as a regular shooter, too. We keep track of the kids scores in an Excel spreadsheet, and all shoots at our club count, whether ATA registered or our Sunday meat shoots of 25- 16 yards targets and 25- 20 yard targets. A youth must shoot 2 shoots to develop an average. Once the average is established for 16 yard, handicap (meat shoot 20 yard targets count as handicap), and doubles, the youth that shoots the most over their average in each dicipline wins. Each win is rewarded with 2 boxes of new trap loads. (This brings them back to shoot, where a monetary prize might not.) The awards are presented as a part of the regular awards so the youth are recognized by the experienced shooters.

    The youth keeps a running established average, and that only falls back to the last 3 scores, anything prior to that drops off. So a kid can get hot, get a good average, but not be afraid to shoot in foul weather, or doesn't get discouraged with a poor score, because it can lower his average so he (or she) is a possible winner in the next few shoots. It rewards the novice as well as those that have shot for a year or better. All ties are shot off, and we put a note in the Trap and Field scores when that happens, a great thrill for the kids. We had a 12 year old with an average of 5.5 per 25 on his 16's win a month ago, because he broke a 12, 6.5 birds over his average. He probably won't win this month, because he raised his average so much. But he was tickled pink to be a winner.

    We keep track of wins (time they have won 2 boxes of shells), and at the end of December, will give special awards to those with the most wins in each discipline, most targets logged in each dicipline, most average improvement, most times over average, most times runner up, (I think you can see- we'll make sure everyone gets a year end award).

    Our gun club charges the kids 1/2 price for targets, which really helps. These kids are always talking to buddies, and recruiting new shooters, as well as some of their parents. We STRONGLY suggest parent participation with the youth, it's not like Little League where you drop them off and come back in 2 hours. The kids at the club have logged over 18,000 competition targets since January at our club alone. The club is open Saturday mornings for practice, and the kids usually show up, the officers give them their own trap where they can work on things, lock it on straight if needed for new shooters, and not interfere with the other adult shooters. Parents and experienced shooters can be right there to help the new shooters. I would estimate the kids have logged another 18,000 birds in half price practice targets.

    Our officers also generously offer trap boy jobs at registered shoots to the youth shooters of the club, which helps them earn money for shooting while getting them good experience watching birds and accomplished shooters. The kids load traps and help score at the meat shoots for no pay to get experience and help the club. It is working great, accepted very well by the club members, and will be an integral part of our club's work in 2010.
     
  9. wayneo

    wayneo Active Member

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    Lou, how about having some kind of a lunch and inviting a Boy Scout troop over for an afternoon. They have a shotgun merit badge. Or invite the local 4-H club. Wayne
     
  10. Trail

    Trail Active Member

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    I live in the Sheboygan, WI area and I think we can put out youth numbers up against anywhere in the country. The Sheboygan area has at least 10 clubs involved in a youth trap spring league (I'm guessing 200-250 kids total), and I live slightly west of there where we have a smaller league involving 3 clubs but totaling 100 kids.

    The kids like competition...and they like going to other clubs to shoot. That's key. The leagues here have a round robin format, so the kids get to shoot in different venues and compete against kids from surrounding towns. We also finish the year by attending the High School Trap Championships here in Wisconsin.

    We charge the kids a flat fee which covers their birds and shells...it's about $40.00. Our club pays for the rest. We run a raffle and a trap shoot to help pay for the program. My club averages 35 kids per year. It's a 200 bird league plus the state shoot. we also have an "end of the year" bust up party.

    I think you'll have best success if you can find a couple of other clubs to coordinate with. We had a small program before we formed the league, but things really took off when we joined with the other 2 clubs. email me if you'd like more info on our format and schedule.

    Steve Blaser
    Kiel,WI
     
  11. SilverShooter

    SilverShooter TS Member

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    Kids love to shot shotguns! Our local club Prince Georges Trap & Skeet in Maryland sponsors a youth program where they provide the SG, ammo, eye & ear protection and shell bag. The kids (12 to 16) shoot sporting clays, skeet, and trap. For 10 weeks, the program is free, then $10 a week for the next 10 weeks. After both are exhausted, they move to a weekend youth league. Yes, there is an attrition rate but we dont do it for the money!

    Every once in a while, a kid blossoms and starts beating the old farts in competition. We have several sub jrs currently shooting 90+ -- and two (13 & 14) shooting 95+ in trap singles competition! I have yet to be beaten by one of them but I know it will happen -- and I will be the first to congratulate them!

    In addition, the club is also used by the local 4H club for their annual shotgun competition. On a personal level, I am a BSA merit badge counselor for Shotgun Shooting. Every year, our troop does a shooting/camping weekend and we are assisted by a private local shooting club that also provides additional shot gun instructors who are volunteers. Last year 5 of our scouts earned the badge in what was a very long day for the instructors. While none of them shoot the clay sports now, I suspect some will become hunters when they grow up -- and I hope that some may pick it up as a life sport.

    Rudy
     
  12. pikepoola1racer

    pikepoola1racer Member

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    My club sells youth targets for $2.50, and the State pays for 1/2 their targets at shoots. When you pay for everything the kid are their, when it's time for dad to pay the kids are gone. If you want youth shooters get dad to get off his a$$ and pay for his kids. I see dads bring their kids, but dont let them shoot, I think LOOSER. Having my 2 kids shoot skeet is cheaper than piano and riding lessions. What do you want your kids to remember, watching dad shoot, or shooting with dad.
    Pikepoola1racer
     
  13. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    When I was a kid I would have loved to be able to go shoot box after box of shotgun shells at targets. But that was not even close to a possibility. I was lucky to manage two boxes of 20 gauge a year for hunting.

    I think that is probably the case for most kids even today. It isn't a lack of interest it is a lack of funding.

    Now if you can come up with a real solution to that please let me know because 40 years later I still don't have the money to shoot as much as I would like to.
     
  14. turmite

    turmite Member

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    I emailed cubancigar this info but thought I would post it here. This is the single most successful youth shooting program in the US. Last year was the third year and we had just slightly over 4500 young people competing. Like I told cuban, this is not a feeder program for any of the organizations, is not affilated with any organization and is fully funded by the Arkansas Game and Fish commission. Well, the fully funded part is only true if you don't care if your team is competative.

    This program is currently be looked at by several other states as a model for their own programs. My suggestion would be to contact your state Game and Fish/Wildlife and ask that they lolk into doing a program like this.

    Though this program is a stand alone program, many of the young shooters compete in ATA, Sporting Clays and the USA Shooting program.

    The goal of the program is to involve young people in the out of doors whether trap shooting, hunting or fishing.

    Mike
     
  15. Hitapair

    Hitapair Active Member

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    Get either (or both) DU and Pheasants Forever involved. The local chapters are usually interested in youth and a joint project will get the youth out there but as others said, keeping them there is the problem. After an initial free round or two, I think it should be reduced price for youth but not a continuous free ride.
     
  16. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

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    Thx to all of you, some good ideas here
     
  17. zzt

    zzt Well-Known Member

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    We used to act like an ATA only club that shot two Sundays a month. The result was attendance by over 55, avid ATA shooters. The only exceptions were one or two twentysomethings who needed the targets to make the State team.

    Our Tuesday night shoots drew many, many more shooters of all types.

    This summer we started a league shoot on the Sundays we were not shooting ATA. We also allowed green bird and practice. With absolutely no advertising, only word of mouth, we started drawing new, younger shooters. Some joined the league. Some only came to shoot practice. Some only shot green bird.

    The common thread was we didn't make them shoot 100 targets, or hang around for hours to shoot caps. The league was 25 singles and 25 handicaps shot right after singles. The idea was to allow shooters to come out, shoot and be done in a hour if that's all they wanted to shoot. Same with some of the practice shooters. They come and shoot 25 birds, because that's all they have time for.

    What I've found by asking opinions for the last year follows, although it might only be applicable to our club or area (suburb of Phila.).

    Saturdays are no good. Taking kids to football, soccer, dance, wrestling, you name it consumes most Saturdays for people with kids.

    So it has to be Sundays, but every week is too much. Every other week (for league, not practice or GB) seems right. We have to start early and finish early. Most league shooters mosey in between 11AM and noon. They shoot a practice, then the league, have a bite to eat and are gone in time for the Eagles or Phillies game, or whatever.

    To attract the over 25 but under 50 crowd, we have to speed things up. We plan on doing the same thing again next year.
     
  18. BIGDON

    BIGDON Well-Known Member

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    Mr. Smokes ideas work well as not only has he brought in young shooters but the parents and he has got those parents involved in the club. With the parents the chances of the kid staying are greatly increased. Getting those parents involved in the club is the reason a new club house was/is being built, those parents are responsible for new people showing up at shoots. It's a WIN WIN deal.

    So don't just concentrate on the kids, make the dads a target. If a kid doesn't have a dad available hook him/her up with a member so he doesn't feel left out.

    But what I know as cuban says I am just a "small minded" person.

    Don
     
  19. BrowningPotato

    BrowningPotato TS Member

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    I think getting "youths" into the shotgunning sports is a great idea, however this should not be the goal if a club is looking to increase the total number of shooters. After all young people, aged 17-25, often do not have the money or time it takes to participate in the sport. Lets face it, the sport is expensive and MOST young people would rather spend their limited funds else where.

    That said, I am a younger shooter (at least by trap shooting standards) and started shooting trap a couple years ago at age 20. What brought me back to the trap range was the type of people I met at the range. Most were older gentlemen but they were so incredibly friendly and more than willing to help me through my growing pains. Soon, I found myself more comfortable around these gentlemen than people my own age. If you create a friendly environment younger shooters will be drawn back. After all, trap shooting is an inherently fun hobby.
     
  20. STOS

    STOS Member

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    The best way we have found to get new shooters and young shooters is with our rookie program.Here is how it works.Every year we have our winter league which runs jan - april.The teams consist of 7 shooters of which we take the best 5 scores each week to count for score that week.However if you have a new shooter called a rockie you are allowed a eigth shooter on your team.Since we have about 33 trap teams and 33 skeet teams that normally adds about 50 new shooters each year since some shoot both trap and skeet. Coeur d'Alene Skeet&Trap Club.Hayden Idaho.
     
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