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Posted: 8/4/2008 1:59:54 PM EDT
Bloomington, IL (Guns Save Life/Champaign County Rifle Assn.) - Darnall’s Gun Works and Ranges hosted their fourteenth annual NRA Youth Shooting Camp July 31-August 2, 2008 at their property west of Bloomington.  Approximately 75 campers were present, along with dozens of volunteer staff to make the nation’s longest-running NRA youth camp another big success.

Youths aged 8-16 camped for four days and three nights at the range and explored several major shooting disciplines, including trap shooting, black powder rifles, air rifles, small-bore rifles, pistols, cowboy action shooting as well as an archery program.  Certified instructors from around Illinois volunteered to offer their services to teach safety and good technique.  While time was limited at each station, the opportunities to learn were not as instructors helped set a good foundation for the campers to continue to learn and improve as shooters.

Sunday afternoon, parents had an unscheduled opportunity to watch the kids in action at the various ranges as the teaching modules were pushed back by some thunderstorms earlier in the morning.  Excited campers delighted in showing off their targets and talents to proud parents and grandparents.

Later Sunday afternoon, an awards banquet recognized those young people who excelled at several of the stations.  The kids were more eager to find out who the winners of the eleven guns on the prize table would be.  The guns ranged from single-shot shotguns to a customized, one-of-a-kind precision semi-automatic target rifle.  The guns were provided by the McLean County Sportmen’s Association, Darnall’s Gun Works, Guns Save Life and GSL members Roger Dorsett and D. Lawson.

Guns Save Life and its members were the largest sponsor of the event this year, donating all of the ammunition used in the camp, over $2300 in shotgun shells and rimfire ammunition, as well as several firearms to give away as prizes.

Several grocers, restaurants and local businesses also donated food and materials to support the camp, everything from pasta dinners to pies to a refrigeration unit to store food.

Many thanks go out to the support staff volunteers who helped out over the course of the weekend.  A few of the parents camped with the kids to chaperone them during non-shooting times, and over a dozen more worked under Tina Cira to feed the assembled masses good food at every meal.

Contact Darnall’s in Bloomington if you would like information on how you can enroll your kids or grandchildren or how you can volunteer to help make next year’s camp a success.  Volunteers are needed.  One doctor,  volunteering for the first time this year along with his wife in the kitchen, was overheard speaking well of his experience.  “These are great people.  They treat you just like family,” he said.  He jokingly added, “they even yell at you if you mess up too badly.”


Group shot of most of the kids and some of the instructors & volunteers.

Helping one of the younger kids with the Ruger 22/45 pistol.

Sending the munchkins to set up the steel targets on the berm.  Work for us.  But they loved it!

Blasting those steel targets.  It was a race to see who (of about 20 shooters) could knock down the most targets (about 40 total).

A cowgirl in training...  One of the young ladies gets some instruction on handling the "old west" cowboy guns.

Showing mom his target from the pistol shooting.  He showed remarkable improvement if I recall correctly.  Some of the kids went from not hitting paper at 30' to keeping all of their rounds in an 8" circle (and a couple of them put many shots in the 4" circle!).

Ah, the pistol line.  I ran this one for all but the last module when I broke away to take some photos for publicity. (I'm the resident photog for the event).  That's Susan Darnall in the green on the far end of the table relieving me.  She was the NRA Woman of the Year last year or the year before, IIRC.  Great people there at Darnall's.

Did I really hit it?  Jim H. works with one of his potential "Chipmunks."  He has the little, little kids (age 4-7ish) shoot chipmunk rifles.  If they do really well and it's okay with mom and dad, he gives them a Chipmunk rifle and a t-shirt with the Chipmunk logo and their name on it.  Corrupting them early!

That's Tina cheering her daughter...  Tina is Sue's daughter and a pretty good shooter herself.

Kid's looking over the prize table.  11 guns given away to the children!

And the winners.

Maranda, front left, won the nicest rifle there...  a customized (Jim Clark barrel?) 10/22 with a custom stock.  A very nice tack driver.  (That was her dad helping the kid with the pistol in the first shot.)

Thanks for watching.

It is a lot of fun teaching youngsters safe and effective use of guns... especially pistols where I teach.


Link Posted: 8/4/2008 2:02:51 PM EDT
That brings back sweet memories of teaching my sons to shoot. Now if the older one would pull the damned trigger and give me a grandchild to teach . . . .
Link Posted: 8/4/2008 2:04:04 PM EDT
I'm coming to the next one if they give away guns!
Link Posted: 8/4/2008 2:13:34 PM EDT
looks like good fun for all.
Link Posted: 8/4/2008 2:18:59 PM EDT
Awesome, but that one kid was complaining about the plastic trigger guard on his Ruger All joking aside, that is some good stuff.
Link Posted: 8/4/2008 4:48:26 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/4/2008 5:01:00 PM EDT
  The Next Generation of shooters.
Link Posted: 8/4/2008 6:25:52 PM EDT
BTT for evening Arf'ers.

Link Posted: 8/4/2008 6:30:57 PM EDT
Good to see some girls in there, my 6 year old daughter is getting close to .22 rifle time.  She already sits on my lap and "helps" me reload .45 acp.
Link Posted: 8/4/2008 6:31:06 PM EDT
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