Fairfax, Virginia - This past Saturday the NRA Range participated in the inaugural National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day, a nationwide event encouraging parents to bring their little girls to shooting ranges to both introduce them to the sport and promote firearms safety.
Even though the focus was on young women, the event hoped to be a family affair and welcomed little boys as well.
Lynne Finch, NRA Certified Instructor and Co-Founder/President of the newly formed program, used social media and spoke with range owners to raise interest in the event. All it took was a little information to get people excited and offering to help.
Starting in January, the word spread across the country and it soon seemed like anyone and everyone had June 9, marked on their calendars.
So how'd it go?
"It was amazing," Lynne told me. "I've been hearing from so many ranges that it was a huge success and some are so excited they're starting to plan for next year."
A total of 37 ranges participated in the event and saw hundreds of families come out. Some who showed up were experienced and some were brand new, but everyone had a great time and learned (or refreshed) safe gun handling in addition to getting in some target practice.
Lynne and Evan Carson, the other co-founder, were present at the event held at the NRA Range and saw first-hand how well it went.
"Their smiles told the whole picture," Lynne said. "I saw a lot of kids go in nervous and come out beaming. It was so adorable seeing the little girls clutch their pink souvenir targets."
Evan, a CRSO himself, was on the range while Lynne greeted families at the door. They weren't alone, though, as plenty of volunteers were on hand to assist all shooters. All guns and ammunition were donated and there was so much they couldn't even get through it all by the end of the day. It was like this all over, not just at NRA Headquarters.
"This couldn't have happened without all the support of the host ranges and volunteers who got behind the idea and helped organize it," Lynne said. "Most importantly I want to thank the families who brought out their children. This was all for them."
Next year's event has already been planned - June 15 - so make sure the date is free. Lynne hopes the shooting doesn't just end after this past weekend.
"I'd like to see the families continue to bring their kids out and keep them shooting," she said. "And I hope they’re looking forward to next year as much as I am."
Although it's 369 days out, there's a lot to do in order to see even more smiling faces next year. Most importantly, get back out to the ranges and have fun.
You can get involved with Lynne, Evan and everyone else on Twitter @NTYDTTRD or on their Facebook page.