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Why it's hard to attract new youth shooters

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Blueraven81, Mar 5, 2010.

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  1. Blueraven81

    Blueraven81 TS Member

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    This is just my take on this subject.

    I probably shouldn't have set down and added this all up. It makes me wonder just what my level of sanity is.

    But I had a friend of one of my Son's who wanted to join my two Boys in trap.
    Not familiar with the sport, his parents called me up to inquire on the particulars.

    I informed them how much my Boys love the sport and how much I loved watching them compete. Then the question of cost came up and that's when I figured out just why it's hard to attract new shooters.

    This is my second year supporting a shooter in High School/Jr. High trap. Last year I only had one shooter, but this year I have two. One on the High School Team and one on the Jr. High Team.

    This year I figure after the entire 15 week season to include practice, competitions and the High School/Jr. High State Tournament I will have spent over $3,450 for two teenage boys to shoot trap.

    After I deducted this year's cost of new guns for my 15 year old ($1500) and my 13 year old ($450) plus items to be used next season such as shooting vest and range bags, the cost just to participate will be around $1800 for the season.

    We are a simple middle class family and I do make a decent living, but I will have to admit, I think spending on average of $120 a week for two teenagers to participate in a school sport is a bit extreme. Lucky for me, I don't have an expensive hobby other than supporting my Boys in theirs.

    When I told my Son's friend's parents that it will cost approximately $1000 plus a gun for their Son to participate they stated that it was just too costly.

    Other than reloading, which I am now doing I don't see any way to lower the cost. I think perhaps next year I might try to find some possible Team sponsors to help defray the cost. I will say that the local Gun Club does provide support by offering their facilities and that is certainly appreciated. But the out of pocket cost is still there.

    After all this being said, I don't regret my decision to get my Boys into the sport. Their enjoyment in shooting, respect for firearms and the shear pleasure that I get from seeing them shoot, to me is worth the cost. Let's face it, they are only my teenage Sons for a short time before they grow up and go out on their own. I guess my new truck and bass boat can wait a few years.

    Thanks for reading.

    Blueraven
     
  2. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    A couple of further thoughts - you can sell the guns when 'done' and I know there's an up front cash outlay, but it might help to think about this. Also, the transportation cost isn't mentioned. Do you guys get discounts for youth shooters?

    My son is taking up bowling and there's plenty of cost there too. Balls are much cheaper than guns but there is a per round cost and some transportation...

    Lots of ways to look at it.
     
  3. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    Then when you quit paying they will quite untill their about 50 and their kids are grown. That is the way it is..........Been there and done that.
     
  4. Auctioneer

    Auctioneer Well-Known Member

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    At this time money is an issue with some families. I will add that the midea has not helped much at all.

    At our state shoot we have the local high school band kids work the fields. The money they make helps them on their band trips as I have been told. Good kids I will add. A friend and I at the shoot and started to talk to this lady who was there who look lets say confused and surprised on what was going on. As we talked to her we found out that her daughter was also in the band and wanted to work the fields with the other band members. She said "NO" why the daughter asked? They are a bunch of drunks, wantabe or former military people playing war games to take over the gov. The daughter kept working on her till she finally said OK We will go down there and I will look around and see. No promises. She said she got there and was very surprised with what she saw. People who were sober, wearing nice cloths, gun safety was displayed, no one was drunk or crawling around in the mud and they were polite. After some time looking around she said OK you can work here. She was so pleased with how things were at the shoot that she to helped out the shoot so the kids got some extra money for the band trips.

    More people need to get away from the TV and go and see how things really are at a shoot and or gun range. That would be a good start.
     
  5. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

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    We recently started a Youth shooting program at our club. The first shoot was so much more of a success than we ever expected. We were prepared to offset a lot of the cost for them if needed but decided to wait until after the first one to see what kind of attendance we got. They came in droves and shot games just like their dads do for meat prizes. None of them were interested in just practice target shooting but they sure did have the competitive spirit. They lined up custers and doo dahs and just had a blast. I ran into one of the dads at lunch yesterday and he said his two sons can't wait until the next one. I guess what I learned from this is that we as club Mgrs and members probably have done very little or at least not enough to promote the kids programs. I think the desire and ability to pay is there, we just have done nothing to promote it. Our plan is to possibly furnish shells or targets down the road. Our club has little overhead so we can afford it. We also are applying for grants to help out. There is a lot of money out there to be had if you follow the rules. Regards shot410ga comment- yes they will quit as they become strapped with responsibilities and kids, jobs etc just like we did. We still need to promote because we need the 40 year old shooters that are not coming into the sport right now. It is a long term payoff. Also - after our last youth shoot, I noticed three of the dads came out to shoot that had not been attending. So it sparked or renewed their interest. It is all about promoting. Do nothing and nothing will happen. You will have the same ole good ole boys and your club will remain stagnant
     
  6. thomaslea1

    thomaslea1 Member

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    Yeah, well I have interested kids, some sponsors to help defray the costs, and supervision for shoots. We can get gun safety instructors and almost anything else we need, EXCEPT: a place to shoot. The local club does not want to invest any time in opening to accomodate some young shooters. Duhhh, they can come on derby night and shoot. Right-o. OK me sez: I'll join and be the club opener and range supervisor. Nope: I was informed of a 3 year waiting list to join. Best thing is they get a whopping 10 people to shoot the weekly derby, and seem very happy when a new person shows up.

    So, we'll not have a youth of school team.
     
  7. blkcloud

    blkcloud Active Member

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    Our team charges $250 per year for the shells and targets, 1200 shells 1200 targets, the kids pay for the competitions, usually about $25.00 each. on the other hand the school here charges you $800 if you want to be a cheerleader..
     
  8. XP100

    XP100 Well-Known Member

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    In the 9 yrs. I have had my shop and started going to Gun Clubs I have seen many youngsters start shooting. Both children and grandchildren of shooters. As soon and they get out of school and parents and grandparents are not paying for their shells and shooting they give it up. It is expensive for a kid to shoot on a regular basis.
     
  9. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    I have a disabled 16 year old nephew that lives 50 miles from my home. last
    blueraven81- what you are doing is a good thing.
    last year i brought my 16 year old disabled nephew out to a area gun club to watch me shoot. he fell in love with our sport. he told me for the first time in his life he feels equal to other kids while shooting at his area gun club. school has not been easy for him as fellow students make fun of him due to his disability and being in a wheelchair. one time per week i drive up to see him, and i gave him a lee load all and i taught him how to load shells. i told him that i could not afford to pay for all reloading supplies , plus the cost of shooting. so he had his parents drive him to area businesses and was able to obtain a part time job working in a furniture store front office 15 to 20 hours per week to help pay for his shooting cost. although, he will not be shooting ata tournaments, he will be shooting practice and meat shoots. i gave him an 870 to shoot, with light loads & he can handle the recoil. his parents tell me trap shooting has been the best thing for him. it has given him confidence, the ability to meet new people, and changed his complete outlook on life. this past christmas, i have him a case of new shells, and he loved the gift. blueraven81- what you are doing is a good thing.
    steve balistreri
     
  10. Bucko43

    Bucko43 Well-Known Member

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    Our shooting club here in Southern California decided that the kids are our future and we needed to support them.

    We have lowered the cost of their rounds to $2.50 per 25 birds when practicing, or they can buy a case of birds (at cost) if they are a member of our club and practice for free. We also pay for their ATA competition rounds and they provide their shells.

    We have a youth trap league on Monday nights are we have shooting coaches in attendance that will help the kids improve their skills.

    We are also going to sponsor them for the state shoot in Kingsburg in June.

    We need to do this!

    Kevin
     
  11. jdsfarms

    jdsfarms Well-Known Member

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    The other day I posted a thread about a baikal shotgun I bought for our youth shooters and it had some issues,I was chastised by a lot of people for buying a cheap shotgun for the kids.People have to understand that not everyone can afford even a $300 or $400 gun for there kids to shoot and kids enjoy doing it even with an H&R topper.But when someone shows up with one there is always somebody trying to get them to upgrade or tell then they will never be able to shoot trap with it or that it's junk and has some kind of safety issue and we never see them again.Jerry
     
  12. melbournemike

    melbournemike TS Member

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    Raising kids is never inexpensive,raising kids well is mind bogglingly expensive,but the best investment you can make.I for one will avoid temptation and will not total up what it costs!
     
  13. skeet100

    skeet100 Member

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    Cost is a BIG issue....

    Local small time sports are cheaper and a lot of kids can be dropped off to play, left for a coach to work with.

    If you play above the local level it gets expensive too. We have done it.

    I wish shooting were cheap enough where more could participate both young and old.

    My one suggestion would be to form a team of some kind, 4-H or Club team... make it fair for all and let as many join as you can handle, get help... Then do fund raisers for them.. cook, work, raffle, get anything you can donated and raffle it..brain storm for the best ideas and things that have worked for other groups. Sell candy bars... rule nothing out.. money is out there but you have to be inventive to get it and it needs to be for a good cause...

    I worked with ball teams and I busted my butt to raise funds so we could participate in it without it being a burden to those who struggled.


    Good luck
     
  14. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Another, less expensive way, to get youngsters into the sport is to hire them as trap help. They can become very familiar with the sport without ever shooting a target. That is how I got started.

    Pat Ireland
     
  15. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    what do you think of this idea? clubs charging an extra 25 cents to shoot and use the quarter to fund kids under 18 to shoot?
    steve balistreri
     
  16. Joe Potosky

    Joe Potosky Well-Known Member

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    As adults we sometimes go overboard.

    Loaner guns and donated ammo and targets for two rounds a week for six weeks would make a good introduction to the clay target shooting sports. You would bring in youngsters from all walks of life. If nothing else they would be exposed to clay target shooting and at some point in life may return.

    Parents that could afford more could move there kids to the next level.
     
  17. cindyfenn

    cindyfenn Member

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    We're in a very rural area in Michigan so there aren't school shooting teams so getting a youngster/teenager into trap shooting is quite inexpensive. Our club charges under 18 year olds $2/round, no membership required, and I've never seen a kid show up that hasn't been offered the use of a gun with supervision and donated shells. Everybody loves to see the kids get started.

    Our club also offers a number of hunter safety courses through the summer & fall and every kid gets a ticket for 2 free rounds of trap or skeet upon completion.

    We have quite a variety of young shooters - those with their expensive trap guns and those that come in from hunting with their field guns with slings on them. It's great to see!

    The youth are our future. We need to help them in any small way possible to get involved.
     
  18. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    Oh! They will all be back, when their 50+ years old.
     
  19. Force Break

    Force Break TS Member

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    Yes cost is a big factor but here is another twist. Electronic games and instant satisfaction. I shoot with a couple of young men and their dads on a trap league. Both dads would spend whatever it would take to get the boys really interested in trapshooting. With the older one it is not enough girls to impress, and the youngest one has his head in some sort of electronic game from the time he arrives and every minute he isn't mounting a gun. Sometimes we have to hunt him down when it is time to shoot. There are other kids in this league that do the same thing, not all but most. The kids are already good at the e games, and do not want to put forth the effort to get good at shooting,even if the tools are available. By the way, both kids are great shots when you can get them to play the game, about a third of the time. Whood a thunk.
     
  20. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    I think many of us old timers can remember plenty of great kids who shot in the 60's and disappeared. They're now in their 60's and some even close to 70 and we're still waiting for their return.

    Try and name a few All-American team kids from 80's, 90's and later that are still shooting or have returned? Simply, when Daddy and Mommy stop the gravy train they quickly disappear, or does the reason run deeper? Maybe the ATA Team target requirements to make the team result in both parent and child burnout.

    Sure does seem target requirements are resulting in fewer quality entrants and it's getting more difficult to even fill the teams in many states!!
     
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