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I'm only speaking of registered shooting.

Some 15 or so more years back, I did some checking about this "Yes, they'll quit but come back later." I sneaked on to 3 Junior All American Teams as a kid in the 60s and decided to check on my peers. I went back and looked at the guys who were on the teams for several years. (maybe 60 shooters). At that time we'd have all been in our 50s.

Besides me, there was one other guy shooting currently. Only the 2 of us! The others went, I guess, on to living life, perhaps shooting a little now and then for fun, but no registered.

More recently, I checked the youngsters who made our state team for the past few years. Only 2 out of several dozen continued on as registered shooters.

Looking back many years, the "newbies" in the 60s and 70s were young-to-middle aged guys. THAT is the demographic we need to tap! Unfortunately, sporting seems to get many of these. And I don't blame them.

Don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but that's the way it shakes out.
I think that was a different kind of group of kids back then in that situation.

I was there, too, in the 70s, and most of the kids shooting were there because their parents shot, and dragged the kids along. Some of the kids were good, some liked it, but it usually wasn't centered on them.

The high school kids and AIM shooters who participate now are there because THEY chose it, not just an add on because dad was going shooting anyway.

It may seem a small difference, but in reality it is a huge factor in how much energy and enthusiasm they bring to the game. Money will cause many to leave as the age out, but different from the 60s kids, they may well be back.
 

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The kids are just fine. It's the adults that are the problem. As a parent of 2 boys I know the difficulty when it comes to exposing kids to both internet activities as well as outdoor ones. Like it or not folks, the internet is here to stay so get used to it! The internet and social media isn't what's ruining kids. It's lazy parents that use the internet as a babysitter for their kids.
 

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Idk about the youth. I personally had never shot anything moving other than a deer up until a couple months ago. Just hit my 40s & I can’t get enough time on the skeet field. I’m messing w/trap a little. It’s such a thrill w/so many good people around, but point is I’d never shot a clay till I turned 40.
 

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I'm only speaking of registered shooting.

Some 15 or so more years back, I did some checking about this "Yes, they'll quit but come back later." I sneaked on to 3 Junior All American Teams as a kid in the 60s and decided to check on my peers. I went back and looked at the guys who were on the teams for several years. (maybe 60 shooters). At that time we'd have all been in our 50s.

Besides me, there was one other guy shooting currently. Only the 2 of us! The others went, I guess, on to living life, perhaps shooting a little now and then for fun, but no registered.

More recently, I checked the youngsters who made our state team for the past few years. Only 2 out of several dozen continued on as registered shooters.

Looking back many years, the "newbies" in the 60s and 70s were young-to-middle aged guys. THAT is the demographic we need to tap! Unfortunately, sporting seems to get many of these. And I don't blame them.

Don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but that's the way it shakes out.
EXACLTY. I said that about cedar falls youth shoot and youth is our future in trapshooting
 

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It’s all about disposable income.
Disagree Tron-

Yes, one must have disposable income to shoot. Those who have it are heading to the clays courses.

Kind of like the White Sox vs Cubs debate. The Cubs are sold out every game even if they stink. The white Sox can't fill the stadium even giving away tickets.

The Cubs turned going to the game as a social event and it worked. Sporting has been advertising as being a social event and they are winning. The ATA are living in the world of if it is not broke don't fix it and are not wise enough to recognize it is broken.
 

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I started shooting when I was nine years old after a firearms safety course put on by the local Noon Day Optimists Club. The youth of today have a lot more options on how to spend their time than I did most of which involve an electronic device.

I shot on the pistol team when I was a cop and we traveled to the national championships every fall. Thirty five years ago we were having trouble getting the younger cops to shoot with us and the only thing they had to purchase was the revolver the pd provided everything else.
 

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As in a lot of things it is a two edged sword. Yes we need to encourage the youth but, need also to do the same for other groups. -----I know the fastest growing group in the shooting community are the women. I know they are growing in number and I see more at shooting ranges than in the past. The problem is the ATA doesn't have the best record of recruiting them. Studies have shown that youngsters raised in a home where BOTH parents shoot , are far more likely to become shooters themselves. We need the kids but, we need others with disposable income to join or ranks. We can't just put all our eggs in the youth shooter basket !
 

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The kids are just fine. It's the adults that are the problem. As a parent of 2 boys I know the difficulty when it comes to exposing kids to both internet activities as well as outdoor ones. Like it or not folks, the internet is here to stay so get used to it! The internet and social media isn't what's ruining kids. It's lazy parents that use the internet as a babysitter for their kids.
This is one of the rare instances I agree with you.

This occupies a lot of my spare time
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My son just turned 8 and the only internet he uses is to do his online homework. He doesnt even know we have internet because all he uses is his computer that is set up to go to 2 websites for homework. And he keeps asking if we can get internet so he can play games like the kids across the street.

He is a bright boy who has to do an hour of school work everyday before he goes outside or to baseball.

He is also proficient with firearms and in archery. His absolute favorite thing to do is to shoot deer. He is a bit on the dmall size so I am waiting on the introduction to shotguns.

Keep kids away from the interweb and you will find a well grounded child.
 

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I've coached youth trap shooters for 10 years and I have seen mixed results with the youth continuing in registered shooting. We have to remember that when they compete in youth events they are competing with other youth. When they shoot registered ATA events they are shooting against the entire field of shooters. Most youth shooters are not skilled or good enough to compete seriously in an ATA event. They came up in the youth ranks where "competing" not just "shooting" was the focus. So the average youth shooter will not go on to shoot ATA events. But they may still shoot trap at their local club which I believe is just as important.

And as others have said, youth shooting sports teaches way more than just breaking clay targets. And some will continue into ATA events. For these reasons, we should continue to support and encourage and welcome youth programs and youth shooters.

My 24 year old son shoots a ton of registered ATA targets. And he does it well. Has the trophies and All American points to prove it. I believe that the key is parents of youth shooters have to teach the kids the financial side of trapshooting. My son began trap shooting at age 14 with a used BT99 that I bought. My son began helping to pay for shells and targets at age 16. By 18 he paid for his own targets and I still helped with shells. At 19 he bought his own Browning XT Trap Combo. By age 21 he paid his own way. We have to teach the youth how to budget their money and show them that they can continue to shoot and still have money for other things. Oh, and that used BT99...it was handed down to his brother and the cycle started again. That same BT99 was handed down to the little sister as well.

This is where I believe many parents miss the mark and we loose youth shooters when parents say "okay now you cover the whole bill." But of course my kids also bought their own cars, paid for their own car insurance, gas and cell phone. And they paid half of their college at in state colleges (no living on campus) and graduated with no college debt. And yes, they now have jobs with real career paths. Financial education is an incredibly valuable tool.

The future of registered trap shooters is not in our youth ranks. It lies in both the youth shooters and the adults you aren't yet trap shooters. And therefore, the true future of ATA registered trapshooting lies in the hands of today's ATA registered shooters. We need to help introduce our sport to others and invite them to check it out.
 

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Promoting youth shooting is often a 'feel good' exercise for the promoters.
That is true; but it also promotes safe and confident gun handlers. Even if the kid doesn't continue to shoot their whole life. The foundation of gun handling will be there. Hopefully the kid had a good experience with guns and will help to protect our 2nd amendment as they grow older; even if they leave trap behind.
 

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When I look around at who is shooting at the registered events I mostly see folks like me (supporting my youth shooter and trying to afford to shoot for myself as well) or people who look like they are retired grandparents. The older youth (20-35) are missing. Their time and money is taken up with new jobs, or college, or very young kids. It doesn't mean they will never come back to the sport.

I would say look for the kids you help at the range to come back to shooting as parents themselves and again when they retire.

Youth are the future is it just a fact of nature. If the wonderful "old guys" don't teach and support the youth (and their newbie parents like me) then the sport dies with them.
 

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I do see more younger shooters but still very small percentage of overall shooters. Between working and countless other entertainment options, I'd say there's hope when these former HS shooters are 5+ years out of college.
 
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