Sportsmen seeking youths for program
A free, trap-shooting clinic for youths will be offered 10 a.m. Saturday at the Haines Sportsman’s Range on Mud Bay Road near the Mount Riley trailhead. Loaner guns are available for use.
Youths from fourth-grade and up are encouraged to come to the event, said Haines Sportsman’s Association president Shane Horton. Neil Moss, who coordinates Alaska Youth Education Shooting, will speak about establishing a youth shooting program here.
Established in Alaska about 10 years ago, scholastic clay trap shooting is a varsity sport in Wasilla, Palmer, Houston and Upper Susitna high schools and affiliated youth shooting programs also have been launched in Ketchikan, Fairbank, Homer, Soldotna and Eagle River.
Moss is hoping to launch programs in Haines, Juneau and Sitka in the coming months.
The program includes competition in trap, skeet and sporting clays and culminates with a state championship competition each June in Wasilla, with top shooters advancing to national competition in the Lower 48.
The program teaches self-confidence, concentration and gun safety and has proven results, Moss said this week. “Almost any kid with any hand-eye coordination at all can shoot clay targets… Pretty phenomenal young men and women have come out of this program.”
As a “C” grade average is required for participation, the program also has helped students maintain grades.
Moss will be accompanied by two student shooters as ambassadors. Parents and adults are encouraged to come with students Saturday. “We’re hoping everybody in town will come out and see what we’re doing.”
Sportsman’s president Horton said the group is hosting Moss as part of a group effort to expand youth offerings. “This sounded like a good way to get some new kids out there,” he said.