4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife program takes aim at life skills

Editors note: This is the fourth in a series of articles running through National 4-H Week, highlighting all the good things this organization does for youth.

Read part one here:  Teens learn and lead in 4-H

Read part two here:  Local 4-H Science of Ag teams heading for nationals

Read part three here:  4-H Livestock Ribbon Auction generates support


By Kate Harrington

University of Minnesota Extension

Mower County 4-H is right on target with growing its Shooting Sports and Wildlife program. Over the last few years, the program has seen a surge in interest with 61 participants; 25 of those participants are new within the last year.

Youth learn important life skills through safe and educational experiences. They also learn firearms safety and the importance of conserving Minnesota’s natural resources. A number of disciplines are offered through the Shooting Sports and Wildlife program, like wildlife, BB gun, archery, air rifle, .22 rifle, muzzle loading and shotgun.

Each discipline is led by trained and certified 4-H leaders here in Mower County. Adults can become certified discipline instructors by attending a weekend workshop and instructing youth in their local community. These adults volunteer with the Shooting Sports program: Sara Silbaugh, Stacia Pudenz, Travis Pudenz, Mary Allen, Matt Jenkins, Jessica Jenkins, Rebecca Voigt, Jenni Bratten, Bob Goetz, Liz Kellner, Chanda Sayles, Bill Adams, Gus Maxfield, Randy South, Roger German, Sondra German and Neil Hinner.

The Mower County Shooting Sports and Wildlife program is coordinated by volunteer Paul Jenkins.

After meeting the required hours for each discipline, a 4-Her can participate in the State 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife Invitational. Held in September, this annual competition draws about 800 young people from across Minnesota to compete. It culminates the year-long shooting and wildlife project. Mower County sent 28 participants to the State Invitational and took home many individual and team honors, including first place wildlife display.

If you are interested in learning more about the Shooting Sports and Wildlife program or 4-H, please contact Interim 4-H Program Coordinator Kate Harrington at 507-437-9552 or visit www.4-H.umn.edu.

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