K. Stevens’s Venturing crew out of Denver has a very narrow aim. In her crew, it’s all shooting, all the time.
“That’s all they want to do,” she said. “We have boys who are older and able to do so many things [outside of Scouting]. We do what it takes to keep them involved in Scouting, and we’ve learned that shooting keeps a lot more kids in Scouting.”
Shooting sports are a big draw at the 2013 National Jamboree, too, where Scouts and Venturers show up in droves. At the trap-deck shotgun area alone, the staff has put through 800 Scouts a day.
Stevens is one of several friendly, highly trained instructors at the trap station, led by Iona Baldock. There are five stations in the shotgun area: sporting clays, five-stand, powderball (shooting paintballs at a moving target), trap deck, and an arcade duck-shooting game.
As shots sounded across the Barrels area, Baldock told me the Scouts and Venturers who shoot aren’t the only ones happy about the Summit’s new shooting areas.
“You can see Mt. Hope right over there,” she said, indicating the town far in the distance. “The locals tell us they love hearing guns in the hills again. They think that’s awesome.”
You see, the Summit grounds were once open to hunters, but when construction started on the site, those hunters went elsewhere. With the Summit’s opening, the sound familiar to locals has returned.
I stepped up to the trap deck having never shot a shotgun. Thankfully, Hunter, a 17-year-old staff member from Colorado and trained instructor, was there to help.
Hunter, whose hands were blackened from cleaning guns for the past seven days, was patient and supportive while showing me the proper positioning and how to aim for success. When I shattered a clay target, I think he cheered louder than I did.
Many thanks to this helpful group for all they do to keep Scouts and Venturers coming back again and again.
You tell me: How well do shooting sports activities go over in your troop or crew?