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Retension vs. Recruitment - Opinions

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by shootXT, Sep 2, 2010.

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  1. shootXT

    shootXT TS Member

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    The ATA and state organizations have been pushing youth shooting.They spend thousands of dollars every year on youth shooting, but very little retension of these youth shooters when the free money runs out. I heard a figure, don't know if this is state or national or if it is factual, it was 6% retension rate. If a business spent this kind of money only to retain 6% after 2-3 years of investment, it would likely go broke.
    This is where the ATA needs to find a middle ground between the youth (recruitment) and the retension of the members it already has. If you go to a bigger shoot you see 80-90% of all shooters are under the age of 25 or older than 50. The reason, 25-50 year olds are raising families and the funds are short. I think this is the age group that the ATA needs to find a way to keep around.this group is the ones that will promote our sport and keep it going. This age group has to quit because the money is short. They have house payments, car payments,and simply need to put food on the table. The reason, KIDS! You retain this group and you will probly see them and there kids.
    Again, go to a bigger shoot where the youth are shooting along with adults and you see a youth shooting with both parents watching in the background. Neither of the parents shoot and you have a 6% likelyhood to see that youth in 5-10 years. The likelyhood to see a 40 year old, that can keep shooting, with a 15 year old shooting beside him/her alot better than 6%.
    I know this is a tough situation, but feel it is worth the time to keep the sport growing. Again, not suggesting to throw the youth organization out, but find a way to incorporate a retension program. Opions? Ideas? Or am I somewhere in left field?
     
  2. twcpdc

    twcpdc Member

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    I think that your numbers and reasons are right. But I think you need to keep the young shooters. If you let the youth go now it will be to hard to get them when they get older and have the funds to shoot. We need to know how many were shooter in there youth, and returned to shooting because of the early training. I lived on a farm and hunted when I moved to the city I shot in a league for a little while. I think the seed was planted then. Tom
     
  3. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    I would say part of if not most of the youth retention needs to be the parents responsibility. Just like its our responsibility to educate the youth on gun safety, outdoor sports, hunting, fishing etc. Granted you can't control anyone once they become an adult and self sufficent, we can do our part to show them the importance of these activities so they might choose to make this a lifelong endeavor. My Dad and grandpa did this to me and it worked. I'd sell everything i own to be able to keep hunting and shooting. Its not just a sport or recreational activity, its a life.---Matt
     
  4. sbhced

    sbhced Member

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    XT,
    It is not about the % ATA retains to shoot "x" # of registered targets. It is about positive experience with firearms. I coach a SCTP team and refuse to think about the time and money I spend at this adventure. The guy that coaches with me is former military, retired private enterprise. This guy could do plenty of other things with his time but chooses to spend time with these young people. If we do not "educate" these young people numbers are against us. If one out of ten of the kids continues to shoot, I find that acceptable, providing the other nine VOTE with me in mind.
    Ed
     
  5. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    You are not just exposing the kids to the sport, but their parents, too. A two-fer or three-fer. If they have siblings, the number of people exposed to our sport is even higher. It's a good investment.
     
  6. turmite

    turmite Member

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    Excuse me for taking offense at this blanket statement, but to my knowledge the ATA does not put one dime into the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program, and that program sends several kids to the ATA every year.

    XT have you spent money from your own pocket to help any kids get started? I have and I am not an ATA member, and don't shoot trap! You are not going to keep thme unless you get them started!

    Mike
     
  7. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    Mike, did you ever get that balky trap fixed?

    Bob
     
  8. turmite

    turmite Member

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    Hi Bob,

    Yes we did. It took a trip to Oklahoma to Gene's. They pretty much thought it had got hit by lightening. It gets unplugged after every use now!

    Mike
     
  9. Gwenzilla

    Gwenzilla TS Member

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    Don't be short sighted.. I say introduce them to the shooting sports early. Screw the costs and retention figures, even if they don't stay in the sports a positive introduction to the shooting sports will be in our favor when these kids hit voting age... and we need all the pro-gun voters we can get. Plan for the future.
     
  10. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Support of youth shooting is a long term investment. We hope it pays dividends in 30 years. If we want a short term dividend, the target group should be the 35-50 age group. There are many in this age group who shoot trap but have not moved up to shooting ATA targets. These individuals should be the easiest to recruit. They already have trap guns and already shoot trap targets.

    Pat Ireland
     
  11. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Well-Known Member

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    Along with the youth programs that are already in existance, the CSSI program started by the NSSF should show a better retention rate in the future. We should be giving a very large THANK YOU to the NSSF, it was them that started the SCTP on a national basis. AIM has been a result of the youth shooting ATA targets. I'm surprised that it has taken so long for the Skeet group to recognize the youth groups.

    Somehow the shooting sport's organizations need to find a way to market the sport to the middle aged, 30 to 50 year old couples. Not all of them are broke from raising a family. There are some out there with disposable income doing other things. They do not know we even exist or the fun they can have shooting clay targets.

    Thank you again to Phil Murray and the rest of the NSSF membership.
     
  12. primed

    primed Well-Known Member

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    Pat, I could not agree with you more. Our state spends large amounts of cash on youth shooting and next to nothing on recruiting the 35 to 50 age group that is our immediate future. So does the ATA.

    I looked at a state junior team from about 20 years ago. There were several all Americans on that team. None of them are shooting trap today and only a couple of them shot any targets after their high school years. If we can't retain these young folks, and these were the most successful of their time, is it really a good long term investment? Perhaps there is benefit to youth shooting politically, socially, etc, etc. But how much benefit is there to the ATA or the state organizations? Do they come back? A few do. Most do not. The shooting was not subsidized 20 years ago like our youth shooting is today. We have large numbers today at our state shoot but the vast majority of them shoot the state shoot free targets, with free ammunition, with fully subsidized membership and daily fees on youth day and then vanish. I do think youth shooting is a good thing as it seems to help develop good character much like other youth sports. I do not suggest stopping youth shooting but I think our portfolio of investments in our future should be much more diverse. We keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (which some use as a definition of insanity).

    I shot league trap for five years before I ever heard of the ATA. I spent another year trying to gather information about ATA shooting. I got conflicting and incomplete information. I saw zero promotion of ATA shooting at any clubs I shot at. You have many other league shooters that are in the same situation and the ATA does nothing to attract them. I suggested years ago that every club that throws league trap targets in this country should have an ATA poster promoting ATA shooting. It would help the clubs and it would help our organizations. I also suggested that the poster should have a local contact person's name and phone number. Somebody that can explain options, target years, etc, etc, but do it in a friendly, inviting way. But, I still see zero promotion from the ATA. The league shooter has equipment, desire to shoot, a basic understanding of the rules and the cash to support his own participation. I think the return on an investment in this group would be immediate and continuous.

    Let me repeat for those that are very sensitive about youth shooting, I DO SUPPORT YOUTH SHOOTING. I have 15 years of running our county's 4-H trapshooting program; a program I started and a program that received no ATA or state funding. I just don't believe it should be our only emphasis. It's like investing ALL of your money in your retirement. It might serve you well in the future but you might starve to death before you benefit.

    Bob
     
  13. Shoot-at-em

    Shoot-at-em TS Member

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    Gwenzilla's point is well stated regarding kid's positive outlook on guns and the shooting sports. You can't put a price/cost on that.

    Also, I thought that the Big 50 program was a step towards retension. Lower cost, less time spent acquiring target minimums, keeps weekends free for family activities... Not many clubs promoting this. Its not a savior for the game, but a tool which could be better used for new ATA shooters.
     
  14. StonewallRacing

    StonewallRacing Well-Known Member

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    My son is 15 and started in SCTP program 3 years ago. He fell in love and wants to do nothing but shoot.

    He shot 5300 registered in addition to the SCTP events he participated in.

    Here is how I envision the cycle..... I expect he will continue to shoot +/- 5,000 registered for next three years until college starts and then the $$ will dry-up and time will be spent working to pay for school. (Unless he can be one of the very few who can get onto a collegiate team.)

    He will then get married, have kids, shoot in a couple of leagues through his 20's and 30's and when his kids are old enough to shoot, he will become involved in shooting more targets again.

    So 30 to 50 does need to be a focus of recruitment as stated above.

    Getting them the foundation as 10-18 year old's is key to getting a higher percentage back when they can afford it!

    Lord help us this great country will still have the freedoms we have now when his kids are able to shoot.

    SW
     
  15. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

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    We've relied way too long on members acquired by the antiquated method used since our sport began. Involving our youth is a must for introduction to the shotgun sports for down the road investment! Once upon a time, kids looking to hunt with parents also got involved in shotgunning clay targets but hardly none today. Bird hunters were our mainstay for membership from the beginnings but hunting numbers have dried up a lot of that advantage. ATA doesn't do much at all to attract enough shooters to take up that slack either! As always, they leave that chore to the current membership and the numbers are dismal at best?

    Seems to me when someone comes along with new ideas for improvement, they don't last too long once they speak out! Bad way to operate any growth dependant venture in my opinion!!

    Reading (primed's) post should be required reading by all!!

    Hap
     
  16. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    Over the years I have seen hard working adults teach and financially help youth shooters. After the free ride is over, I seldom see most of them shoot again. If I do see them shoot, it is when they are older and can better afford to participate in our sport. I agree, we need to plant the seed early so they will get the desire to shoot in later years when they can better afford the sport. On the other hand, if there was a way to attract the older more financially stable population to shoot that would also help attendance in the shooting sports. Let's face it, if shooting was inexpensive, most youth shooters would indeed continue on shooting, as I have never meet a person that once they shot a round said that they did not like it. If possible, I would think to attract the youth as well as the older shooter we need to find ways to always keep cost as low as possible.
    Steve Balistreri
     
  17. Barry C. Roach

    Barry C. Roach Well-Known Member

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    Youth shooters are not the ATA's best target market. Never have been and never will be. The target market for new shooters with the best chance for retention are ages 35-55.

    You see tons of kids shooting at big shoots and while impressive, most are subsidized. Gun clubs operate on very little profit already and discounted targets reduce it further. I'm not against the youth programs. I'm just saying that there is much less bang for the buck that the middle aged adults bring to the sport.

    Adult shooters increase the net profit of the gun club every time they shoot. The kids lower it. The SCTP program has showed us how to promote shooting. AIM concentrated the effort on registered ATA youth trapshooting as it fed off of the efforts of the SCTP and we have done ZILCH for the older, more stable folks.

    Encouraging youth to shoot should continue, but gun clubs should go after the older folks. Of course there is no organization of gun clubs within the ATA nor any program of shooter recruiting OR retention of any group of shooters. It's a shame.
     
  18. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    The existing customer (the one with the money) is the easiest customer to sell to and must be retained. Kids are not our customers - they don't have money or the capacity to buy independently, but their folks/grandparents do.

    Non-shooting adults with shooting dependents are poor candidates for customer retention...

    Yes, go after the kids to plant some seedlings, but understand that the mature folks are the better investment for harvesting and retention...

    regards,

    Jay
     
  19. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    They either shoot Sporting Clays or are moving in that direction. Just ask those 20-40 year olds how exciting it must be to spend $70 shooting 200 Singles and spend a whole day doing it. We're in fantasy land if we really think Trap has some sort of attraction to that age group. Heck, we've got 12 year olds breaking 200 straights and making it to the 27 yard line. How many more belt buckles, pewter plates and shell bags will the want to win?

    Let's face it, Trap is an old man's game for those with diminishing physical skills. Look around you at the next Trapshoot!!
     
  20. shootXT

    shootXT TS Member

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    I was just sitting back for a while to see what direction this would go in. Now I have a few responses. First, for Turmite, I was a head firearms safety instructor until I needed to move to an assistant. I qalso donate to our youth program and started a youth program at our local club. So, Yes i am involved with the youth! My concern is that when the money runs out on the youth we invest money and time in leave and very few ever return. A thank-you to Primed and Pat Ireland, I see I do have a few who see things the way I do. StonewallRacing, I hope your plan turns out for you!

    What I have seen is, my buddy left the sport when he had kids for other interests, I'm still trying to get him back to trapshooting. Others have seen the way some youth disrespect some of the older members and will not support anything that have the words YOUTH. Like my last statement in my original post, I don't want to get rid of the youth programs, but incorporate a retension program!
     
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