BUNKER HILL — Illinois 4-H members will compete in the first Illinois 4-H Shooting Sports State Shoot on Saturday, May 31, at the Brittany Shooting Park in Bunker Hill.
The shoot is open to 4-H members only. Youth must have been 14-18 years of age on Jan. 1 to be eligible and must be current members of a 4-H shooting sports club. Shooting events will be offered in: archery/compound, archery/recurve, air rifle, smallbore (.22) rifle and shotgun.
Illinois 4-H was certified to offer the shooting sports program in 2009, and since that time, nearly 700 adult volunteers have completed 15 hours of training or more to become certified instructors. These instructors, in turn, provide the backbone of the shooting sports program in 92 of Illinois’ 102 counties. In 2013, more than 3,000 young people enrolled in one of the shooting sports disciplines of archery, rifle, or shotgun, to make it one of the fastest-growing 4-H projects in the state.
“The focus of all 4-H programs is the development of youth as individuals and as responsible, productive citizens,” said Dan Dawson, University of Illinois Extension state shooting sports educator. “The Illinois 4-H Shooting Sports program stands out as an example.
“Youth learn marksmanship, the safe and responsible use of firearms, the principles of shooting and archery and more,” Dawson said. “The activities of the program and support of caring adult leaders provide young people with opportunities to develop life skills, self-worth and conservation ethics.”
Safety during the state shoot will be prime consideration, Dawson said. Participants are responsible for providing their own ammunition, shooting equipment and safety equipment.
“We are looking at making this event a family-oriented opportunity and expect a large number of parents, siblings, grandparents and friends to attend and watch their 4-H members compete,” Dawson said.
Youth will compete as individuals with the top four individual scores composing 4-H club/county teams. Trophies, plaques, medals and ribbons will be awarded to individuals and teams.
“We wish to encourage any eligible youth to attend and try, regardless of their skill level,” Dawson said. “Everyone started as a beginner, and this shoot will be great experience for youth of all levels of mastery.”
To find out more about 4-H in Madison, Monroe or St. Clair counties call (618) 939-3434 or (618) 344-4230. A new 4-H enrollment year begins on Sept. 1.