The Union Sportsman’s Alliance joined forces with the National Shooting Sports Foundation to bring more than 30 youths together for a day all about conversation and the shooting sports.
Hosted in Nashville, the annual Get Youth Outdoors Day catered to kids age 9 to 15, engaging them in fun activities centered on firearms safety and education. Hands-on instruction courtesy of Union volunteers from Roofers International and Insulators Local 86 offered introductions to sporting clays, archery, wildlife conservation, dog training and outdoor topics.
Brian Dowler, Director of Marketing and Communication with the Union Sportsman’s Alliance, told Guns.com in an interview that the event seeks to turn around declining participation in hunting, conservation and the shooting sports.
“I think there’s an interest there but it needs to be cultivated in a safe and controlled way. We are seeing more and more interest each time we advertise, so there is interest there,” Dowler explained. “I any industry recruitment has to be a goal and the same thing for hunting and the shooting sports. There are barriers to learning how to (shoot) and the more barriers we can break down, the more mentors and teachers we can provide, the more secure the shooting sports future will be.”
Dowler applauded the efforts of volunteers who came to teach and mentor junior shooters in addition to industry partners Synergy, Plano and other donors who supplied hearing and eye protection, ammunition and firearms and goody bags to attendees. The Union Sportsman’s Alliance also partnered with the NSSF’s First Shots Program, an initiative to bring more shooters into the sport.
“Everyone deserves an opportunity to learn how to respect and treat firearms safely. We all have a passion for hunting and the future of hunting. We’re really proud to be able to go into major metro markets and work with kids that may not have someone at home to teach them firearms safety,” Dowler said. “(The NSSF) has a very similar mission to us and we’ve worked with them before. They are an obvious partner because of their expertise and resources.”
While the NSSF and other partners offer goods to support the Get Youth Outdoors initiative, Dowler emphasized the need for volunteers for future events. “Every volunteer has a chance to make a really positive impact on a new shooter or new hunter’s future.”
The Union Sportsman’s Alliance looks to continue hosting events for youths interested in the shooting sports with the next program set to hit Houston, Texas Apr. 28. For more information or to offer services as a volunteer, please visit the Union Sportsman’s Alliance webpage.