I am working on writing an upcoming article for TrapshootingUSA about our young shooters. Now that summer is over, I would love to hear about tournaments/experiences from all across the country. You can email to me [email protected]
Be sure to include at least a small segment on Matt and Foster Bartholow. While there are many folks dedicating countless hours for youth shooting, I don't know many "top tier" shooters who are giving FREE shooting clinics for the youth the way these two young men are. They have literally donated their time and money to travel to clubs to help our sports youth at their home clubs. They recently had a free youth clinic in Iowa(I believe) with a turn out of over 150 kids. As I said above, there are folks(men and women) donating their time to youth shooters all over the U.S. That said, there are not many traveling to these kids home clubs to give clinics for free.
Thanks for your continued support of our sport too Karla. Good luck with your article.
Karla, speak with Mark Zahuar if you haven't already. Had a great conversation with him about what's happening in Minnesota, absolutely mind boggling. I am sure it will be spreading in the area, I hope. Great future for our sport. Thank you again as Matt says for all your support.
These are all good research points. I have sent out few personal emails and plan to send more. We all know and most agree that the new shooters are the future of our sport. I feel most reasonable folks also recognize the fact that a large majority of kids don't transition into lifelong shooters, so there is still work to do within the current programs. I am not as familiar with the SCTP "movers and shakers" as I am with AIM, would love to hear from anyone.
Bob Hawkes above hit the nail on the head above when he stated the mind boggling events unfolding in Minnesota. I have a couple articles for you to browse if you have not already seen these. I am not sure if you were looking for specifics on ATA, AIM or SCTP only, but there are some unprecedented things happening in the shooting world in regards to youth shooting. Without actually naming names of successes with specific events I think the best tribute to our sport is simple: Growth. Here just might be a couple instances where some should rethink the term "dying sport". This first article was picked up and gained national attention when Bloomberg media ran it. It detailed the sport and how it has unfolded into a massive success story in Minnesota. Great article but one paragraph within says it all: "In 2009, the contest’s first year, it drew 30 shooters. In June (2015) there were 5,134, more than 20,000 spectators and sponsors including Benelli Armi SpA and SKB Shotguns..."
The Cornhusker State Trapshoot has been talked about here on these forums several times and continues to build yearly. Not the biggest in the US but steady enough for an honorable mention. There are others such as Missouri and Arkansas I believe, who are in the same boat, if not a bigger one. Hate to leave anyone out, especially out of success stories such as these. See for yourself:
On a more micro scale: This year was somethig new for our youth shooting teams. My coaching partner and I work with the Middle Schoolers (Junior high levels 6-8th grade) even though we are all part of one large High School shooting club. We had 15 "junior" shooters and it was the largest the team has ever been. Many of the other schools had similar and even larger teams. This was also the first year for that age bracket to split off from the Senior high school level and has it's own time/place. The awards are plenty, not overshadowed by the seniors and the atmosphere is just as competitive, on a more manageable scale. We would get roughly 30 squads per week in this age group for our conference, so it went quick with the good organization the club had. There are tears at times and then there are huge smiles of pride and jubilation... so a lot like ATA and the adults (HA HA). My daughter has since moved on from this team and into the Senior high school ranks. Her new team is predominantly SCTP and like you, is something I am interested in seeing first hand.
We are looking for a continued growth in our teams for this year. Practices are already starting for many teams and their bids for next year's State Shoot. Early indication for my son's team is a large, fresh crop of young shooters. Last year our team had 60 shooters and if the interest holds we could be at the 70-80 mark this year. If I remember correctly we only lost 5 shooters to graduation and the bulk of the most consistent shooters are now juniors. My daughter's new team had roughly fifty shooters last year total (all girls school). This year, that schools freshmen team signed up 27 new shooters to the sport. Many of these these are shooters who, in fact, have never held a shotgun. That's ceratinly a nice growth rate and I really hope it holds and these girls stick with it.
One last note: Grntitan mentioned the Bartholow's from South Dakota. I'm sure you have encountered this family in your travels with Trap Shooting. I have yet to meet them but look forward to some day doing so. "They don't know me, but I know them"... is a statement I feel is seldomly used to describe an entire family in a good way. This family deserves, and has earned, a lot of credit.
There is a side benefit of the growing youth clay target shooting but a very important one. As long as its kept fun, fair, respectful and more importantly SAFE it will have an affect on any anti gun movements. While many of these young shooters will leave the sport entirely for good, some returning later as they get older, they and their parents and other family members likely can be counted on for support of the shooting sports when challenged by any proposed local, state or federal anti-sporting gun legislative action. Quite a few of these young shooters come from non-shooting families and the families exposure and support via their sons and daughters participation can lead to a positive impact on them. Even the media in some areas of the country are carrying positive coverage about the youth clay target programs which was politically incorrect not to long ago. Foremost: keep it safe.