Up to $5,000 in prizes for youth active in the shooting sports

2010 NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth Award winner Nathan Switzer

Fairfax, Virginia - Which one of you junior shooters out there could use an extra $5,000? Three exceptional kids will win a total of $10,000 this year and you want to be one of them, right?

Alright, how? Through the Brownells/NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth Award, which recognizes juniors and young adults who take an active part in the shooting sports through individual participation and educational pursuits.

You don't need to make it in the X-ring every time to qualify. The requirements are entirely reachable and will help you gain a greater appreciation for all the opportunities out in the shooting sports world.

Learn more about the Brownells/NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth Award...

Team Smith & Wesson's Molly Smith discusses the coveted NRA award

Are you involved in the shooting sports? How Much? If you are active through both individual participation and educational pursuits you could win up to $5,000 in the NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth Award. And accuracy isn't as important as involvement. How do you get recognized? Molly Smith, recent Youth Education Summit participant and member of Team Smith & Wesson, wrote a great piece on the award for the Women's Outdoor Network that you can read below.

Team Smith & Wesson member and Youth Education Summit participant Molly Smith

Brownells and the NRA have been teaming up since 2001 with a goal of annually awarding youth with an Outstanding Youth Achievement Award. It’s an honor to receive the medal and certificate, but the significance is more than a medal and a paper certificate; it’s recognition and acknowledgment of dedication and hard work, of focus and of course, direction. It’s an honor to be acknowledged. Any youth younger than 21 years of age can apply; they must meet the core requirements and an additional five (or more) elective requirements from a possible 19 — activities surrounding the shooting sports and related educational opportunities.

It’s an extensive application, but in just looking it over, I was excited! I saw activities I have already done – like competing in NRA competitions – but, I also saw opportunities that I’ve never thought of before, such as becoming a Winchester/NRA Qualified marksman or attending the NRA convention. (The convention being one thing that since hearing about it, I’ve wanted to go but haven’t had the chance yet.)

Reading about the Outstanding Youth Achievement Award made me want to achieve this one and more. It made me think about becoming more involved, to learn more and to do more, especially within the shooting sports. Some of the activities I participated in included completing an NRA Firearm Training course, competing in an NRA Match (Bianchi Cup, anyone?) attending/volunteering at Friends of the NRA (FNRA) events, summer camp shooting programs, seeing a firearms museum and helping with wildlife conservation. Each of those events had a different, enlightening impact on me.

More by Molly on the Outstanding Achievement Youth Award ...

You could be the next Outstanding Achievement Youth Award winner

NRA/Brownells Outstanding Achievement Youth Award

The NRA and Brownells are looking for the recipient of the next Outstanding Achievement Youth Award. You don't need to make it in the X-ring every time to qualify. More important than accuracy, we're looking for juniors and young adults who take an active part in the shooting sports through individual participation and educational pursuits.

There are a lot of things that make you eligible for the reward and we've listed them all below. If you decide you want to apply, even if you aren't very involved with the shooting sports right now, meeting these requirements will help you gain a greater sense of responsibility and an appreciation for the variety of shooting sports opportunities available.

Learn more about the NRA/Brownells Outstanding Achievement Youth Award...

This NRA Club Leadership & Development webinar focuses on NRA Youth Programs and Competitive Shooting

Interested in bringing some new programs to your shooting range or club? Then join NRA Clubs and Associations for an upcoming NRA Club Leadership & Development webinar to learn how to start a youth program and how NRA can help you get started. The webinar will also provide an overview of the NRA Competitive Shooting Division's wide range of activities in shooting disciplines, for shooters of all skill levels.

The free one-hour webinar will be held this Thurdsay, March 22 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. You can register online or check out a listing of other upcoming NRA Club Leadership & Development webinars. Topics are offered to suit any club and offer great advice on how to make your club more successful.

Have a question or a suggestion for webinar topic? Contact NRA Clubs & Associations at 1-800-NRA-CLUB or at clubs@nrahq.org.

Attention junior shooters! Could you use up to $5,000? Maybe you're saving for college for looking to buy a new rifle. If you're doing great things in school, in your community, and on the range, then you could win some of the $10,000 that's up for grabs through the Brownell's/NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth Award. First place wins $5,000, second place takes home $3,000 and third place will recieve $2,000. Check out all of the details below to see if you qualify to apply for the award.

Nathan Switzer 2010 OAYA winner Nathan Switzer competes in the 2009 National Junior Air Gun Championship at Camp Perry.
Fairfax, Virginia – The National Rifle Association is now accepting applications for the Brownell’s/NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth Award. Chosen for their accomplishments in the community, the classroom and the shooting sports, three exceptional young people from across the United States will receive a total of $10,000 courtesy of Brownell’s.

“The Outstanding Achievement Youth Award recognizes young people who exemplify excellence in not only the shooting sports, but other areas of their lives,” said Larry Quandahl, Manager of NRA’s Youth Programs Department. “Dedication to academics and community are important facets to becoming a well-rounded shooter.”


Three of the National Rifle Association’s top Junior Members have been selected to receive the 2011 NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth Award, recognizing their accomplishments in the community, the classroom, and the shooting sports. A total of $10,000 in award money is awarded to the winners from the NRA Foundation.

First place and $5,000: Benjamin Zimmerer of Gainseville, Texas

Second place and $3,000: Steven Hahn of Middle Grove, New York

Third place and $2,000: Olivia Cashman of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Young people must meet the following seven core requirements of the Outstanting Achievement Youth Award:

  • Be a current and valid NRA Junior Member or NRA Regular or Life Member; through December 31 of the calendar year in which their 21st birthday occurs.
  • Be a current member of an NRA affiliated state association or club.
  • Attend and complete one NRA Basic Firearm Training Course.
  • Participate in the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program by earning a rating in one discipline.
  • An essay of no more than 1,000 words – the subject of the essay is “What the Shooting Sports has Taught Me,” describing why you began to participate in the shooting sports, the lessons learned, and how you use these lessons in your everyday life.
  • Three letters of reference – including one from your coach, and one from a teacher.
  • A copy of your high school transcript.


Nathan Switzer, who was awarded the 2010 Outstanding Achievement Youth Award and participated in this past year's NRA Youth Education Summit, took the time to write a great article for NRA InSights on his experience at Y.E.S. and the benefits you'll get from the once in a lifetime trip.

2010 NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth Award recipient Nathan SwitzerIf you are currently a sophomore or junior in high school, have I got a deal for you to consider! If you are younger, read it anyway and make plans to participate in the future. During the summer of 2010, Friends of NRA paid my way to Washington, D.C., so that I could participate with 44 other high school sophomores and juniors from around the country in NRA’s Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.).

Where else do you start an NRA Summit but at the NRA headquarters? We met the department heads and heard about their projects and activities. I know many people who work at NRA, but there were whole departments that I did not even know existed. Your NRA organization is huge, and they are all working for you.


Thanks to Brett Conners in Youth Programs for our final profile on the 2010 Outstanding Achievement Youth Award winners:

Megan Lee, third place winner of the 2010 NRA Outstanding Achievement Youth AwardMegan Lee, a 16 year old from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, took third place and earned a $2,000 award for her achievements in the shooting sports and her community.  

Lee is an active member of Sir Walter Gun Club and an accomplished smallbore shooter having earned a Junior Olympic gold medal. She has volunteered and participated at the National Matches at Camp Perry, earning 3rd place in the 2010 National Smallbore Rifle NRA 3-Position Championship out of a field of 293 competitors.

Lee also volunteers within her community with groups such as Relay for Life and St. Bernadette’s Catholic food bank. She's active with the NRA's Women On Target® program as an instructor and volunteer. Not only does Lee have an impressive academic record, she also serves as a steward of the shooting sports within her community.

That concludes the profiles on our 2010 Outstanding Achievement Youth Award Winners. If you or somone you know is an NRA Junior Member who exemplifies excellence in the shooting sports, academics, and the community, they may qualify for selection. The deadline to apply for 2011 is May 1, so check out the OAYA website for more information on requirements and how to apply.

As promised, here is a profile of NRA's 2010 Outstanding Achievement Youth Award (OAYA) second place winner, courtesy of Youth Programs' Brett Conners.

18-year-old Garrett Walters of Burr Oak, Michigan, earned the second place Outstanding Achievement Youth Award and a prize of $3,000. Walters a decorated shotgun shooter has won a multitude of gold medals in international trap, including individual gold at the Michigan State Junior Olympics in 2008 and 2009 in the J2 division in addition to national titles in J2 in 2009 and J3 in 2006.

Along with these individual medals, Garrett has been a member of the National Junior Olympic Team for the past four years,participating in international trap and in 2008 for double trap. Garrett was selected second for the American Trap Association (ATA) Youth Recognition Award in 2008 and is the current national record holder for USA Shooting’s 250 target trap in the J2 category.

 Walters is also an active member of the St. Joseph County Conservation & Sportsman Club, helping the club raise funds for the St. Joseph County Sheriff Department to present the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program throughout the region. As busy as Garrett is winning championships, he still manages to find time to promote firearms safety within his community by assisting with Hunter Education Classes.

Next week we'll provide a profile of our third place winner. Check back to learn more about our outstanding Junior Members.

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