Recruits receive Thanksgiving thanks to Illinois Venturing Crew

Larry Quandahl of NRA's Youth Programs Department popped into my office this week with a handful of stories. All deserve to be heard, but one that jumped out at me centered on an Illinois Venturing Crew raising money for the local Naval training base. Thanks to Venture Crew 1220 for sharing their tale.

Itasca, Illinois - Venture Crew 1220 of the Itasca/Wood Dale neighborhoods of Illinois came to the rescue of Naval recruits at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. The Venturers of Crew 1220 are experienced when it comes to using NRA Basic and Instructor Courses for fundraisers. They have offered both courses in the past to help pay for high adventure trips, like Philmont. In December 2011, Jim Appleby (an NRA Appointed Training Counselor) told the Crew about VFW Post 2801 of Villa Park. It set the stage for everything.

More on raising money for Illinois Naval cadets...

NRA 3-Gun Experience brought to AIM Championship

NRA 3-Gun layout used at AIM Championship

Sparta, Illinois - "Do you really think youth Trap shooters will be interested in a 3-Gun shooting experience?"

The NRA was asked this question and, after a huge turnout at the Academics Integrity Marksmanship (AIM) Championship, they can respond with a resounding "YES!"

3-Gun shooting competitions have gained a lot of popularity over the past few years and the NRA saw AIM as the perfect venue to introduce 3-Gun to young shooters. AIM is the youth program associated with the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) and has some 5,000 members nationwide.

In a 3-Gun challenge shooters, shooters compete in timed rifle, shotgun and pistol stages and are penalized for each missed target.


NRA Day brings out thousands of shooters in Illinois

Illinois State Rifle Association Bonfield, Illinois - On Saturday June 23rd, an incredible NRA Day Family Shoot took place in Illinois. In what was described by Illinois State Rifle Association President Richard Pearson as “The Big One,” the five-hour event saw approximately 2,409 people come out to shoot at the Association’s Headquarters Range. The direct objective was to get new people out to the range. With 40% of the people at the event having no experience shooting, that objective was certainly accomplished.

After a standard NRA safety briefing, participants stood in a line that at times stretched more than a hundred yards. Waiting for them at the firing line was a choice of rifles, pistols, shotguns, air guns, and even some bows provided by the nearly twenty sponsoring organizations. Receiving personalized training from an assigned instructor, novice and experienced shooters alike where allowed five to ten shots depending on the firearm.


NRA Refuse To Be A Victim program logo Wheeling, Illinois - Refuse To Be A Victim® Program Coordinator Ruthann Sprague has been a busy woman this month. At the recent 141st NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits, two Refuse To Be A Victim® Seminars were held, followed by an Instructor Development Workshop. The events were a huge success, and now many in the St. Louis area are better prepared to reduce their chances of victimization.

After all of her hard work coordinating the Refuse To Be A Victim® training at the Annual Meetings, Sprague left St. Louis to head directly to the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) Conference and Expo in Wheeling, Illinois. Sprague is bringing the award-winning crime prevention program to the ILEETA Conference in hopes that more law enforcement agencies will incorporate the program into their crime prevention program.


Youth Education Summit participant Theodore Mikrut teaches Cub Scouts about Eddie Eagle. Sandwich, Illinois - 2011 Y.E.S. alumnus Theodore Mikrut participated in the Boy Scouts Three Fires Council Camporall last weekend at the Sandwich Fairgrounds in Illinois. The three-day event was enticing enough to draw almost 4,000 people who gathered despite the high winds and brisk October temperatures.

Before being allowed onto the range that weekend, every Cub Scout at Camporall was taught about the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program by Mikrut to ensure any scout interested in shooting was introduced to proper safety information.


Richard Pearson from the Illinois State Rifle Association on NRAblog Chicago, Illinois - The life of an Executive Director is a busy one. That couldn't be any more true for Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson. While he originally planned to attending the opening of Chicago's NRA Club Leadership and Development Workshop, pressing issues on the local and state levels demanded his attention. But true to his pledge, Mr. Pearson was able to pull away in order to attend the afternoon session of the seminar.

"I don't want to take up too much of your time as the staff from NRA headquarters has so much to share," said Pearson. "But I'll be here to answer any questions you might have during the breaks and after the presentations."

And there he was, taking questions and delivering answers well after the day was done. Even those in attendance from out of state stepped forward for a chance to utilize Pearson's vast expertise in the firearms arena.

"It's important to have leadership from the state associations attend these workshops," said NRA Clubs and Associations Marketing Manager Son Nguyen. "Having Mr. Pearson here is a real benefit to us and everyone who attended the seminar today."

Francisco Lee taking questions at NRA's Chicago Leadership & Development Workshop on NRAblog Chicago, Illinois - Francisco Lee has been working at the National Rifle Association for a little more than a year now. As a Financial Coordinator, he's one of those who has a better understanding of where the money raised at NRA Friends Events end up. So obviously he's the perfect choice to tell our Chicago participants about Friends of NRA.

"Friends of NRA was established back in 1992," he started. "The net profit raised and these events is split between the state and the national associations."

He stopped for a moment on the Friends Banquets to go over all the can be accomplished. In addition to being a proven fund raiser, Friends Banquets are the perfect opportunity to find like-minded people, make new friends and maybe even find a local decision maker or two.

Grants were another popular subject for Francisco. Some passed out by the State Fund Committees, others passed out by the NRA Foundation, there are plenty of opportunities to find the funds for that firearm related subject you're developing.

And if you can't figure out where to start, call headquarters at 703-267-1000 and ask for Francisco Lee.

Lars Dalseide at NRA's Chicago Club University Chicago, Illinois - My turn to step up to the mike and to the crowd here at the Hilton Garden Inn (located just outside of Chicago's O'Hare Airport) came a little over an hour ago. Unfortunately there were two problems; people had tons of question and Tori had my camera.

The tons of questions meant I couldn't get to everything I prepared. Left on the plate were good portions of the web design and search engine optimization sections. Maybe I'll move that to the front of my presentation during the next workshop.

As for Tori with the camera, well, we'll go over how to use a zoom lens next week at headquarters.

After the afternoon break (which include three pieces of chocolate cake for some of us), Son continued with his hosting duties by introducing Miranda Bond, Grass Roots Coordinator for NRA's Institute for Legislative Action.

Miranda hit the highlights when it came to the issues facing residents of Illinois, the battles on Capitol Hill, and how to get more involved with that side of NRA's operation.

The schedule tells us that we'll be hearing from Friends of NRA, Youth Programs, Collegiate Shooting and maybe even a visit from the Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association.

Like I said earlier, we've a lot going on at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Sherri Judd and Tori Croft at NRA's Chicago Leadership and Development workshop Chicago, Illinois - While waiting for Eric Whitescarver from NRA Range Services to begin his presentation at our Club Leadership & Development Workshop in Chicago, Sherri Judd (NRA Youth Programs) and Tori Croft (NRA Collegiate Programs) called me over for a pre-presentation pow-wow. What I'm going to cover, what they're going to cover, what we might have to leave out. There's just so much information and so little time. But now is the time for Eric to get underway.

"The Range Technical Team Advisers have worked with more than 1,800 ranges since 1991," said Whitescarver. "I have about 120 people across the country that can come out to your range, offer opinions and observations on what you're trying to accomplish. We can help if you're just starting out of if you've been there for decades."

Eric went on to tell us how gun ranges are disappearing across the United States. How a safe, well run operation benefits the members, the community and shooting sports in general. It can mean the difference between a one time visit and a life time membership/commitment.

If you'd like to learn more about NRA Range Services and how can they can assist your operation, drop them a line at (877) NRA-RANGE (672-7264) or email

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