Chuck Denney, Narrator (UT Institute of Agriculture
Pull it back, focus, relax and release. Accuracy is rewarded with a satisfying thump. These kids in Franklin are part of the 4-H shooting sports program, which includes archery. Carter Gillenwater likes the challenge of hitting a target at a good distance – here from about forty feet.
Carter Gillenwater (4-H'er)
“You get to come here and make a lot of new friends and get better at shooting and all kinds of stuff. You get to set up and take it all down. We get to shoot and have fun and be able to teach each other.”
That’s a key part of this program. It’s not so much about hitting a bull’s eye, though that’s nice – but more about learning.
Barb Stewart (4-H Volunteer)
“Well, they’re learning all the 4-H life skills here – leadership, responsibility, self-improvement, problem-solving.”
One of the great things about any target sport is the immediate feedback. If you miss, you know what to work on. But if you put one right here, that’s a good feeling.
“They can tell when they hit their mark, when they hit their goal – we ask them to set goals each week – and when they hit that goal, they’re excited about it, we’re excited about it.”
Organizers want the kids to have fun, but there’s no tolerance for messin’ around. Safety is absolutely lesson number one.
DeWayne Perry (UT Extension - Williamson County)
“It’s a chance to learn to do things by the rules, stay within the guidelines, that sort of thing. I think that’s a good life lesson there that they’re being exposed to every time they come over here to work with the shooting sports program.”
That also includes pellet or BB guns, again with an emphasis on safety. Elizabeth Keeler recently won a medal for her deadeye accuracy.
“This is for the national BB shooting. I qualified for third place in the sitting position. Third place out of how many kids? 243 kids.”
Shooting BB’s or with a bow, these kids are learning much more than just the mechanics of target sports. They aim to learn, a goal that’s right on target.
If you have a child interested in a shooting sports program – contact UT Extension in your county. Often there’s no equipment needed and just a minimal fee to join. All instructors and volunteers are certified in safety regulations.