Aug 24, 2012, 1:01 AM EDT
By Bill Miller
Any year in which my travel schedule permits my wife and I try to make it an annual tradition to spend at least one afternoon or evening at our local county fair. It is so much fun. I pity anyone who lives in an environment where they don’t have access to a real county fair with farm animals, demolition derbies, a cheesy midway, marked unhealthy food stands (we even found poutine at our fair this year), and 4-H exhibits.
I love walking through the 4-H building looking at the conglomeration of projects ranging from home canning to yarn crafts to photography to public speaking to … well, you name it. But in the 4-H building on our county fair grounds, one of my “must see exhibits” is always posted on the walls of the buildings southwest corner farthest from the entrance. I always kid my wife they set it up just like a casino in Vegas. The most interesting things are farthest from the door to get you to come all the way through the casino to find it.
The county fair equivalent for me are the 4-H Shooting Sports presentations. There on the walls, with the ribbons they’ve earned, are the targets, score sheets and photographs of 4-Hers who achieved honors in combined shooting of bows, rifles, airguns, pistols, muzzleloaders, and shotguns. It takes me straight back to my own 4-H days and how focused I was on proficiency with all the tools of hunting.
You didn’t know 4-H had a shooting sports program? You bet they do, and it’s among the biggest and oldest anywhere for young enthusiasts. The award-winning targets posted at county and state fairs across the country are just the tiniest tip of the 4-H shooting sports iceberg.
As you’ll learn if you are around 4-Hers or the leaders in the shooting sports program, 4-H uses shooting sports to teach youth development. These programs are valuable for helping young people develop self-confidence, personal discipline, responsibility, teamwork, self esteem and sportsmanship. The discipline and self-control required for responsible firearms use carries over into many other aspects of life. 4-H programs provide a positive experience for youth and promote the safe and ethical use of firearms. They recognize hunting and shooting are rich American traditions. 4-H shooting sports programs help continue this tradition through involvement of the total family: youth, teens, parents, grandparents, etc.
It’s my sincere hope for you that you have access to a local county fair for all the downhome fun, but especially for an introduction to 4-H Shooting Sports, but if you don’t then a visit to their website is the next best thing!
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