Local 4-Hers certify in shooting sports

Published 7:42 am Thursday, May 24, 2018

On April 20-22, 2018 over 100 4-H adult and youth leaders from Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa gathered at the Long Lake Conservation Center near Palisades, Minnesota, for certification training in the disciplines of shotgun, rifle and pistol, archery, wildlife, and overall program coordinator.

Morgan Beckmann, Joe Mentel and Mason Silbaugh, all of Mower County, attended the training. During the upcoming year, they will develop their leadership skills as they work together with the adult coaches to participate in program planning, development and implementation of county 4-H shooting sports and wildlife events.

Coaches said they were proud of the group of youth for stepping forward to be leaders in the program.

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Beckmann will return for her fourth year as a coach and it will be the first year for Mentel and Silbaugh.

Beckmann said, “When I first joined the program, Paul had me helping with the younger kids. He encouraged me to go to the certification training to become a coach.”

She said she enjoys the experience because it is fun to see the kids get excited when they learn and things “click.”

“I will graduate 4-H next year, and I hope I can continue to volunteer with the program. I have built relationships with the kids, and want to continue to watch them grow,” Beckmann shared.

Along with sharing your talents and watching others grow, taking the class to become certified as a youth coach also helps these young leaders improve their skills as well.

“I had been shooting for many years and going to this class, I learned new tips and tricks that helped me improve my skills too,” Beckmann said.

When asked why he wanted to coach, first-year youth coach Mentel said, “I wanted to become a youth coach to help others out while working to improve my shooting. I am looking forward to watching other members develop their skills.”

The coaches thanked the trio for their service, especially Beckmann for her continued involvement over the past four years.

For the first time, leaders also received certification to teach ATV safety within the 4-H program thanks to the generosity of Polaris which donated various sized ATVs and a transportation trailer to the state 4-H program, according to officials.

The Minnesota 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife Program began in the 1980s and has grown to 5,000 4-H members and 1,000 adult leaders. 4-H members may become involved in the 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife Program in the following disciplines: rifle and pistol, archery, muzzleloading, shotgun, coordinator, wildlife, and 4-H ATV safety. Youth and adults can become certified discipline instructors by attending a weekend workshop and instructing youth in their county. To learn more about the Minnesota 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife Program, go to http://www.extension.umn.edu/youth/mn4-H/projects/shooting-sports/shooting-sports/.

The local 4-H shooting sports and wildlife program continues to grow. Today the program has more than 95 members and volunteers enrolled. Collectively the members participated in over 1,200 hours of shooting sports and wildlife trainings and practices last year. These events were put on by youth and adult program volunteers.