As I mentioned before, the Chief Instructor at Airfield Shooting Club asked me to attend the class and get certified as a 4H shotgun instructor so I can help out with the 4H club that shoots at the Airfield range.
I may have mentioned before that the Airfield Shooting Club facilities are actually located on and shared with the Airfield 4H Education and Conference Center.
I was actually a member of 4H for a few years when I was a kid, but after moving away from the rural community I grew up in, I never really gave it much thought until joining the Airfield shooting club and being exposed to 4H again.
4H shooting education is actually a relatively recent addition to 4H activities and is a great addition at that.
Unlike other shooting clubs, organizations or education programs, the 4H program is as much about using shooting as a vehicle for developing youngsters into productive, contributing citizens as it is about the shooting itself, and it is geared specifically toward teaching 9 to 18 year olds from varying backgrounds and upbringings. For that reason, the instructor training is a bit more intense and encompassing than the NRA instructor courses. It’s as much about how to relate to and deal with, and develop the kids as it is about teaching shooting skills.
After having gone through the instructor training, I’m very impressed with the 4H’s approach to dealing with and instructing kids. I wish I’d gotten my kids into it when they were young and I’m going to try to get my grandkids involved when they get old enough in a few years.
As usual, click pix to make bigger.
They have conference rooms including the one in this building on Yancey point where we had our classes.
The main “Gray” building is a very nice building with several dining areas and conference rooms.
Oh…and, of course, the pistol, rifle, archery, skeet and trap ranges.
In summary, an excellent facility with a lot to offer.
We started out with an introduction to the 4H Instructor program and a long “Risk Management” briefing by Jinx (yes, that’s her real name…I asked) Baney, the Virgina 4H Shooting Education Coordinator, then we got right into the individual classes for our disciplines.
We had excellent instructors in RL Harris, who is the coach for the Virginia 4H Shotgun “Development” team from which the competitors that will make up the Virginia team at the National competition will be chosen.
They were both extremely knowledgeable and were excellent instructors. I couldn’t begin to tell you how much help they were in improving my meager skills with a shotgun and in building my confidence.
The focus was, of course, on learning the techniques and principles of teaching kids to shoot, while also helping them develop into productive citizens.
This one’s my personal favorite. The first thing I noticed was the hull still in the air after being ejected from the gun. The second was the clay target. The shot cloud was just beginning to break the target as the picture was taken.
The wadding is still in the frame and you can actually see hints of the shot as it breaks the clay.
I think this is the best picture I’ve ever gotten of a clay being hit.
I like it anyway.
After some more classroom work Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Late Sunday morning was the “Practicum” where we actually taught a basic shotgun class to some students from another discipline.
As a class, we had some rough spots in our practicum and RL and Jay didn’t pull punches with their critique. I definitely wouldn’t feel comfortable teaching a class on my own quite yet, but with some practice and under the capable tutelage of Dale, the Airfield Shooting Club chief instructor, I’m certain I’ll be on the ball pretty quickly.
And here stands the latest and possibly greatest group of 4H certified shotgun instructors.
We crammed some 25+ hours of instruction into a 48 hour period from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.
Add in mealtimes and the hour plus commute each way each day (most people stayed in the lodging at the center, but I couldn’t afford it this time) and it made for a very long, but rewarding, weekend.
My thanks to RL and Jay for their expert instruction and for the rest of the guys for a pleasant, enjoyable weekend of learning and shooting…and for being very patient and understanding with me as I wandered around shooting pictures everywhere I went.