Refuse To Be A Victim celebrates 20 years of crime prevention and safety techniques

As NRAblog prepares to usher in 2014, Lars and I have gone through our stories from the past year and created 'Best Of' lists containing our five biggest events of 2013. Between all of the big events - both planned and unplanned - that we saw and the difficult task of actually recalling far off times like "February" and "April," it was no easy task. Without further ado, my list:

NRA's Refuse to be Victim seminar

At #5 I have chosen Refuse To Be A Victim's 20th anniversary, as it let us stop and reflect on how much good the program has accomplished in its short time. Beginning in 1993, at the cusp of the United States' historic decline in crime rates, the National Rifle Association's Women's Policy Committee met with the goal of helping women avoid victimization. The idea the committee conceived of was Refuse To Be A Victim; taught by women and for women with a focus on becoming a less appealing target to criminals. Twenty years later the program has undergone a number of positive changes, but the objective remains the same.

The first three years of Refuse To Be A Victim proved the demand for education on crime prevention skills as more than 3,500 women attended a class. In its fourth year, after a high demand from men seeking the same education, the class became co-ed an its popularity skyrocketed.

Over its 20 year history, Refuse To Be A Victim has taught common sense safety tips to more than 100,000 people. Many attendees have enjoyed the program so much that they sought to become instructors, leading to the creation of the Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) and most recently the Online Instructor Training course. Now sporting 3,800 instructors, more than 500 Refuse To Be A Victim events are held annually throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, England, Costa Rico, Puerto Rico, Tahiti and Trinidad and Tobago.

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A hallmark win for an NRA National Matches legend

Carl Bernosky retakes lead for NRA High Power title at Camp Perry, Ohio

My #1 moment from 2012 was watching Carl Bernosky win his tenth overall High Power Rifle Championship at Camp Perry this past summer.

With more than 30 years of shooting experience, Bernosky is something of a shooting legend. He has won three titles in my nearly five years of working at NRA.

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Friends of NRA celebrates 20 years of friends, food and fun

Kings County Friends of NRA's original committee

Friends of NRA had a big year in 2012. The hugely successful grassroots fundraising program celebrated its 20th anniversary over the course of the year with more than 1,100 banquets across the United States.

What began as an idea between NRA's Wayne Sheets and MidwayUSA's Larry Potterfield during the 1992 NRA Annual Meetings in Salt Lake City has turned into one of the NRA's best programs for protecting our shooting sports heritage.

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NRA's child safety program reaches its 26th millionth child in 2012

Eddie Eagle at the NRA Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina on NRAblog

One of the best programs I think we have here at NRA is Eddie Eagle GunSafe. A likable eagle mascot who visits elementary schools across the country, Eddie doesn't teach whether guns are good or bad, but promotes the protection and safety of children. No firearms are ever used in the program and are merely treated as facts of life like swimming pools, electrical outlets, matchbooks and household poison.

Created in 1988 by past NRA President Marion P. Hammer and with help from elementary school teachers, law enforcement officers, and child psychologists, the program provides pre-K through third grade children easy-to-follow rules should they ever encounter a firearm while unsupervised: “If you see a gun: STOP! Don’t Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult."

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Capital gains for high school students in week-long NRA Youth Education Summit

2012 Youth Education Summit at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia

My fourth best moment of last year has to be this past summer's NRA Youth Education Summit. Held annually, Y.E.S. is an all-expenses paid week-long trip to Washington D.C. for a few dozen lucky high school students.

At the summit, students begin traveling around the nation's capital as strangers and end it as good friends. I got to know a lot of the kids during the week and it was awesome hearing all of the stories about their different levels of involvement in the shooting sports, how they heard about the summit and, of course, why they decided to come.

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Taking to historic firing lines on Lake Erie's coast for a National Championship

CPT Christopher Abalo wins the 2012 NRA Smallbore Rifle Prone Championship at Camp Perry, Ohio

The battle for this year's Critchfield Trophy at the NRA Smallbore Prone Championships was a hot one - they usually are. It was also extremely close as Captain Christopher Abalo, in his third and final time competing, bested Reya Kempley and finally walked away with the overall NRA title.

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Matt and Jessie continue bringing more laughs and warm moments to Friends of NRA

2012 saw Friends of NRA return to Outdoor Channel for more adventures and hijinx from Matt and Jessie. After a successful first season there was still more to tell (and remains to be told as Season 3 premiers this weekend), so our hosts hopped back in their truck and hit the road.

Hosted by professional shooter Jessie Duff and retired Major League Baseball player Matt Duff, the two travel the United States to explore the ins and outs of the Friends of NRA grassroots fund-raising program. From Las Vegas to New York City to everywhere in between, Matt and Jessie were all over.

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Friends of NRA's popular raffle returns bigger and better than ever at the 2012 NRA Annual Meetings

Inspecting the items on the Wall of Guns

At the 2011 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Pittsburgh, Friends of NRA unveiled the Wall of Guns raffle. A popular game at Friends of NRA events in previous years, it was time to try it out on the national stage.

True to it's name, the Wall of Guns features a plethora of firearms adorning a wall. A winner is drawn every time the game sells 100 tickets and may select their prize from the wall. All old tickets are scrapped and a new raffle begins.

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More breathtaking art from some of the country's top first through twelfth grade artists

Artwork from the 2012 George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest

For 25 years the George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest has come around every fall, seeing entries by students who have spent months to get things just right. The panel of judges that preside over the contest have a tough job selecting each category's winners and are routinely impressed by the artwork they see.

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