Each year, the NRA Foundation gives out grants to support various areas of the shooting sports, including our Youth Cooperative Organizations like 4-H. Here's a story about how one of these grants is helping young people excel in archery in New Mexico:

NRA grant boosts Valencia County 4-H archery program

Friends of NRA logo on NRAblog Elijah Pena places his feet by the shooting line and pulls the bowstring back on a compound bow as he aims at the target 20 feet down range.

The 10-year-old 4-H member releases the string and the arrow flies toward the target, ending with a thud as it penetrates the second ring.

Like the parents of many first-year participants, Kevin and Mary Helen Pena were not sure if archery was going to be a good match for their son, Elijah. They didn't really want to invest in the equipment if this was to be a short-term interest of his, so they borrowed equipment from another 4-H family.

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Opening on the Belfast Wildlife Area rifle range in South Carolina on NRAblog

Today marked the opening on the Belfast Wildlife Area rifle range. While it’s true that there’s probably a handful of ranges opening across the United States every week, the Belfast range is significant for two reasons … first it’s an unmanned public range and second it was financed completely through NRA Grants and the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program.

We’ll have more on this next week, but many thanks to NRA Board member Herb Lanford, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director John Frampton and Emily Cope – the SC DNR’s Assistant Director of Special Projects and National Affairs.

The honor of the first shot was bestowed upon Emily for all her hard work in making this the first of many public unmanned ranges helped financed through Friend of NRA Grants.

 

From The Taft Independent:

The Taft Sportsmen

The Taft Sportsmen's Club was the recent recipient of over $20,000 in grants from the NRA Foundation. The NRA Foundation is a non-profit organization which raises funds for local and national firearms related projects through their Friends of NRA dinner events.

The Taft Sportsmen's Club was awarded a $5800 grant for their annual junior pheasant hunt generally held in November. This is the eighth year that the NRA Foundation has awarded the TSC a grant for their pheasant hunt.

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Arizona Field Representative Donna Cassity during her portion of NRA's Club University in Phoenix "We need you to get more involved."

Those were the words of Arizona Field Representative Donna Cassity during her portion of the NRA's Club University here in Phoenix.

"The time you spent and the money you raise is vital to the continued success of shooting sports for our community and our kids."

With almost two hundred thousand dollars in grant money provided to Arizona clubs and operations over the past year, it's understandable why Cassity is so passionate about her work.

"Have you ever attended a Friends of NRA dinner? Did you enter the raffle? Do you serve on a committee? These are all things we can do to help ensure that our sport continues to thrive in the Grand Canyon State."

Because of Cassity's hard work, as well as all that of the Arizona State Rifle & Pistol Association and local NRA affiliated clubs, groups like the Rio Rico His School Army JROTC, the Globe Miami Gun Club, Mohave Top Guns, and Big Shots 4-H all received sizable grants for 2011. But it doesn't stop with grants. But as a Field Rep, Cassity is involved in more than just NRA grants in Arizona.

"We have a Friends Banquet tonight in Mesa, Arizona and a Women On Target® Instructional Shooting Clinic at the Casa Grande Police Range the first Sunday in April. Come out, it'll be fun!"

The Journal News in southern New York details the significance of Friends of NRA Banquets and NRA grants:

Friends of NRA Banquets are much more than get-togethers for sportsmen

When the hunting seasons come to a close and most fishing seasons are months away, some of the main attractions to sportsmen in the region are annual banquets hosted by local organizations.

For years I was a guest of the Sportsmen's Club of Northern Westchester, when it held its annual game dinner at the Westmoreland Sanctuary in Bedford Corners. I found the banquet hosted by the Croton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited to be a convivial gathering of anglers and their guests. The Friends of the NRA dinners in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess counties are other options. My visit to a Ducks Unlimited dinner in Armonk was another affair that a sportsman could annually pencil into his winter calendar. The evenings are special because they bring sportsmen together to enjoy each other's company, feast on more food than they really should try to put down in one sitting, and participate in raffles and silent auctions that can bring them sporting gear, dream trips and other special rewards.

The purpose of these evenings, as enjoyable as they may be, is not all about fun and games. They are fundraisers, and much of the money raised, even by chapters of national organizations, finds its way back to local projects.

The Friends of the NRA banquets, for example, return a percentage of the moneys raised as grants to local sportsmen's clubs for projects. Local clubs have made significant improvements to their facilities through NRA grants funded by such banquets.

Read the complete article here.

The The Newton Kansan ran a story on 4-H shooting programs and grants from the NRA:

Friends of NRA Shooting sports offers safe firearms classes

NEWTON — Each year in the fall, we teach a basic shooting sports class for beginners. The 4-H members learn about gun safety using an air rifle or BB gun. The 4-H members then participate in weekly classes for 10 weeks and practice what they have learned. This is the first of many opportunities in the 4-H shooting sports project. The youth who are interested in target shooting move up to air pistols. We have youth who compete in competitions all winter long with their shooting sports projects.

Our 4-H Shooting Sports program is coordinated by Gail Lanier. All of our instructors attend a mandatory state training where they learn about teaching kids, and they learn about the area they want to teach. Our BB gun instructors are Manuel Camacho, Gary Lanier, Larry Church and Kevin Duerksen. Our junior instructors are Nathan Lanier and Jacob Duerksen. Whitney Lanier is a junior leader volunteer for the project.

In late spring, we will start our 4-H archery project, and the instructor for that is Virgina Jury. Our retiring instructor is Eric Wenger, and we have new parents planning on attending the state training to be certified to assist in the archery area. In early summer, we will start the shotgun project, and the youth will shoot traps at a local trap range. So, there are lots of opportunities in the 4-H shooting sports areas.

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From the Bryan County News, we hear about more groups benefiting from NRA Foundation: grants:

4-H promotes shooting awareness

Every year it seems there are fewer and fewer rites of passage for young people in our society. Rites of passage are mileposts marking the transition from childhood to adulthood. As a young person gains greater freedoms he or she also accepts increased responsibilities and accountability.

Today the driver’s license is our greatest rite of passage for teenagers. With the freedom of movement an automobile provides comes the responsibility and accountability for the lives of others you can profoundly affect by your actions while driving. For me, taking on responsibilities started with being able to consistently get up in the morning, get myself ready and to catch the bus to school. Doing daily chores to keep up the home and working alongside adults came next.

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Oregon's Argus Observer highlights an NRA Grant in action:

NRA grant helps Weiser gun club make key improvements

Weiser — Realities come from a dream.

Friends of NRA Jay Border, Joe Baker and Scott Real had a dream of having a warm clubhouse with restrooms and running water at the Weiser Trap and Skeet Club. Now, that dream is a reality, thanks to the National Rifle Association and the Friends of the NRA.

“Every year, the Friends of the NRA, part of the NRA Foundation, holds a banquet for the shooting program. The money from the banquet goes towards shooting programs,” Border said. “Half of the money stays in Idaho, and half of the money goes to fund the national programs.”

Friends of the NRA is the non-profit arm of the foundation, while the NRA is the political arm. The political part goes to Washington D.C. to lobby and provides information to the nation about what it is doing. Friends of the NRA is the shoulder for the Refuse to be a Victim and Eddie Eagle, which provides information to schools about guns and shooting.

“The Friends provided a submission of a grant request, and it was reviewed by our grant review commission, and that’s who decides if our application is denied or approved,” Border said. “Our grant was approved, and we received $13,000 to put ADA accessible bathrooms in our brand new club house.”

Read the full article here.

Once a year, the National Rifle Association calls on their Field Representatives to attend a week-long seminar here at headquarters. This is where they'll receive the latest and greatest updates on Event Services, Insurance, Merchandise, Database Administration, and much, much more. Part of the more is Grants – the funds that go out clubs, associations, ranges and other groups to support their work with the NRA. So what are some of the highlights?

"First thing that comes to mind are the Women On Target Instructional Shooting Clinics," said Oklahoma Senior Field Rep Darren DeLong. "Down at the Oklahoma City Gun Club, they run the largest clinic in the United States. You want to see something fun then that's the place to go. Last one had more than 400 women come from five states. The grant basically covered the ammo cost, but the smiles on their face was more than worth every penny. I've never seen anything like it."

Steve Teutsch, our Field Rep from Indiana, offered another opinion.

"I've always liked the kids programs," said Teutsch. "Especially Eddie Eagle. Go into the classrooms, see the interaction, and know that they're learning an invaluable lesson. We've also set up some air gun ranges, one of which I run for the older kids at no cost, so it gives them something to do besides play video games in the afternoon."

But no matter where the money goes, be in range improvement, instructor training, or Women On Target events, the important thing is that it reaches the right people in the right places at the right time. And that's just one of the things the Field Reps are learning about here at NRA Headquarters.

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