AMES, Iowa – Volunteer shooting sports instructors from throughout the United States will come to Central Iowa for the National 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor Workshop May 15-20.
Iowa State University Extension and University of Minnesota Extension are co-hosting the workshop at the Iowa 4-H Center near Madrid. Registration is open to current adult volunteers in state 4-H shooting sports programs. Participants at national workshops must have the approval of their state’s 4-H shooting sports coordinator, said Bryan Whaley, who coordinates the program in Iowa.
The registration form, schedule and more information are available online at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/projects/ShootingSports/sessevents.htm.
The registration fee is $325 through April 30; after that date the fee increases to $375 per person. No registrations will be accepted after May 4, Whaley said.
“We are training volunteer instructors to work with kids to develop skills for their future — because shooting sports are lifelong activities,” Whaley said. “4-H shooting sports bring together youth and trained adults and emphasize positive youth development through building shooting, wildlife, conservation and outdoor skills.”
During the weeklong workshop, volunteers will receive training to become nationally certified instructors in one discipline of their choosing: archery, rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, pistol, coordinator, or hunting skills. The certification will enable them to teach other volunteer instructors in their own states, Whaley said.
Participants also will have many opportunities to exchange ideas, both formally and informally, Whaley said. “You can share approaches and tactics that have worked for you and ways you handle situations in your own club, county or state, as well as learn what is going on in other states. We already have people registered from as far away as Alaska, Oregon and Mississippi.”
In 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports (SESS) youth work with trained adult volunteers to learn safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment, including sound decision-making, self-discipline and concentration. The shooting sports program promotes the highest standards of safety, sportsmanship and ethical behavior, Whaley said. The program also encourages youth to develop an understanding of natural resources as well as a personal environmental stewardship ethic through participation in shooting, hunting and related activities.
Shooting sports is one of the fastest growing 4-H programs in many states, with an estimated 300,000 youth participating nationally. These programs across the nation have proven effective in engaging both boys and girls and retaining older youth in 4-H. In Iowa 570 volunteer instructors work with 1,660 youth in 4-H shooting sports activities.