4-H takes aim at new shooting sports program
By Annette Tait
Safety first. That’s what brought experienced shooting sportsmen like Oliver County Gun Club members Scott Maier, Stacy Vojacek, and Erik Montgomery together with a group of beginning archers and 4-H and Extension personnel last Saturday at an archery range inside the Betty Hagel Memorial Civic Center. Maier, Vojacek, and Montgomery joined Todd and Rebecca Orgaard, Ken Koble, Pheasants Forever Wildlife Biologist Justin Edwards, Extension Agent-in-Training Calla Jarboe, Dawn Alderin, and 4-H Foundation Member Deb Clarys for training to become certified archery instructors for Oliver County’s new 4-H Shooting Sports program for youth ages 8 to 18 years.
“We’re covering risk management – thinking about the safety aspects of the program,” said Clarys, who has worked with 4-H Shooting Sports programs in the past. “All instructors have to be certified, so the kids receive uniform instruction in a safe environment – safe not only for their own safety but for safe use of the equipment.”
North Dakota State University Extension Service Instructor Samantha Rath conducted the training to certify the participants as 4-H shooting sports instructors. Certification is required to instruct shooting sports program participants, run the range, manage other volunteers, and be in charge of risk management for the program. Instructors must also be certified in the discipline they instruct, such as archery, black powder, pistol, rifle, shotgun, and hunting in safe environments.
Saturday’s training was for archery, the first discipline to be introduced in the Oliver County 4-H Shooting Sports program.
“We’re also learning about the different ages and stages of development,” Clarys added, “and age-appropriate ways to work with them.”
The 4-H Shooting Sports archery program goes beyond teaching participants safe and responsible use of bow and arrows for target shooting and hunting. It also helps participants learn sound decision-making, sportsmanship, and ethical behavior, and introduces related natural resources and natural science programs that have a natural connection to shooting, hunting, and related activities.
Rath spent the morning going over instructional guidelines, risk management, health and safety, record-keeping, and other program-related aspects in a classroom setting. The afternoon was spent practicing according to the program guidelines, which are specific to 4-H youth and the equipment used in the program.