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Heartland Outdoors

4-H Shooting groups need volunteers

Fri, April 21, 2017

Adults who are looking to get involved in one of the fastest growing sports/activities in the country may want to consider the University of Illinois 4-H Shooting Sports program, says Dan Dawson, 4-H youth development educator and coordinator of the program.

The program provides a supportive, adult-supervised environment in which young people, ages 8 to 18, can learn the shooting disciplines of archery, air and .22 caliber rifle, shotgun, air and .22 caliber pistol, and hunting and wildlife skills. The disciplines available vary from county to county depending on their volunteer team, supplies, and locations available.

Locally, Tazewell County 4-H is looking for volunteers willing to be certified and volunteer with the air rifle and shotgun special interest clubs. There are also openings for volunteers to join the shooting sports team as additional shooting sports coordinator, archery instructors, instructors to start the new disciplines of pistol and hunting and wildlife skills, plus assistants for all disciplines.

“We have a great team of shooting sports instructors,” explained Katharine Girone, 4-H program coordinator. “To help our program keep growing, we need to add more team members. We are also in need of finding a new location to host our shotgun club.”

The shotgun 4-H club has been a very popular discipline. Due to family responsibilities and medical concerns, our father & son instructor team needed to pass the baton on to new shotgun instructors. With the change of leadership, came the challenge of a new shooting location. According to Girone, the club has ammunition, clay discs, and throwers. They are just in need of a suitable location.

Shooting sports instructors and coordinators are certified through a three-day training provided at the state level. Assistants are trained locally by county Extension staff and certified instructors. All 4-H volunteers are required to complete an application and interview process prior to being accepted as official volunteers.

The next training workshop for adult volunteers is set for May 5-7, 2017 at the 4-H Memorial Camp in Monticello. There is a registration deadline of April 24, which includes completed 4-H application process.

“All of the paperwork takes a few weeks to process,” Girone stated. “The sooner we get that started the better.”

“The shooting sports coordinator manages the county 4-H Shooting Sports program with assistance from local U of I Extension personnel,” explains Dawson. “Counties must have a trained coordinator and at least one shooting discipline instructor. But, it is beneficial for counties to have multiple shooting discipline instructors.”

Dawson says that the focus of all 4-H programs is the development of youth as individuals and as responsible and productive citizens. 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 much more. 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.

For more details about the May training workshop or general information about the Illinois 4-H Shooting Sports program, contact University of Illinois Extension, Tazewell County office at 309-347-6614, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Dawson at 217-782-6515, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

For more information about youth participating in the spring sessions of air rifle or archery, visit our website at


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