Forget going out with a bang. At this year's jamboree, a new event has come in with one.
Camp Thunder, sponsored by the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation, gives boys the chance to shoot clay targets and teaches them about responsible gun safety and techniques.
When we visited today, Camp Thunder was wrapping up a day in which a whopping 750 boys went through. At 10 shots per boy, that's a lot of Federal shotgun shells for the boys to take home as souvenirs of their experience. And it makes for a lot of stories to tell friends and troopmates later that day.
It's the message of Camp Thunder that makes it different from most shotgun ranges. At Camp Thunder, boys are given the opportunity to succeed at shooting successfully. Organizers shortened the distance that the clays travel. They're on hand to help show the boys the proper way to position their bodies and their Beretta 3901 shotguns while shooting.
And there's strategy instruction, too. Follow the clay and shoot just a bit in front of it. Don't wait for the clay to come into your sight because it's much tougher to hit it that way.
The boys are catching on. Rarely does a boy leave without hitting a single clay. In fact, a few have even impressed the range volunteers by connecting on seven or eight of their 10 shots.
Camp Thunder holds worthwhile lessons for any shooting sport, whether it's at summer camp or a unit outing. Encouraging the Scouts and working within their level of skill can produce worthwhile results.