Comes to NRA Headquarters for Youth Education Summit before shooting Smallbore at Camp Perry
Emporia, Kansas -
Two events serve as highlights every summer for those of us here at the National Rifle Association: the Youth Education Summit and the National Rifle & Pistol Championships in Camp Perry, Ohio. Bookmarking the beginning of the season with YES and the end with Camp Perry, it's seldom that the two events come together. Unless you run into someone like Megan Hilbish.
Hailing from Emporia, Kansas, Megan has been around firearms for as long as she can remember. With an enthusiastic hunter as a father, it's no wonder she started in the shooting sports early.
"My dad always wanted to take me out hunting," explained Hilbish. "When I was old enough, around seven, I was able to take a hunter education course. Then I could go."
Just watching at first, the desire to join in inspired Megan and her parents to enroll her in the county's 4-H shooting program. The lessons produced interesting results.
"I joined the shooting sports program for BB guns so I could become a better shot when hunting. Overall, it went back and forth because hunting made me a better shooter too."
Out for everything from deer to turkeys to geese, Megan was able to master a number of firearms in a relatively short amount of time. Always looking to improve, she decided it was time for a challenge. Precision shooting would be the platform.
"I've been competing more and more over the past two years," she said. "More local, state and
NRA matches against really good competitors. It's amazing. To shoot at places like Camp Perry
against scholarship college shooters, World Champions, Olympic competitors. I can't believe I'm here."
Not only was she there, but she was shooting well enough to place first for Smallbore's Sub-Intermediate Juniors in the Sharpshooter category. Pretty impressive for one who stepped onto the firing line a few years ago.
Making it to NRA Headquarters for the Youth Education Summit
Hilbish first heard of the NRA Youth Education Summit (YES) two years ago. Unfortunately, at the time, the deadline had already passed. But that didn't diminish her desire to attend.
"I thought it would be fun and that I would learn a lot," Hilbish said. "I really wanted to go."
YES takes forty-five to fifty outstanding sophomores and juniors to our nation’s capitol each year. The purpose is to encourage young adults to become active and knowledgeable U.S. citizens by learning about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the federal government through tours, lectures and more. The program is all expense paid thanks to local Friends of NRA funding.
"It was a really neat experience to see the monuments and memorials. We also had the opportunity to meet people like you who help show how the Second Amendment is association with our every day rights."
In addition to the tours of the monuments, there is also a tour of the NRA Headquarters Range. That's were a number of students shot for the first time in their lives. Not true for Megan.
"I shot a nice group with an iron sights .22 pistol," she said with a smile. "It was centered, but it was a nice group. The 9mm was more of a challenge because of the recoil. It was so much fun."
Working with the National Rifle Association in Kansas
Now back home in Kansas, Hilbish is concentrating on her studies, looking for colleges and working with the NRA. As a continued benefit from attending YES, she has been doing her best to compete for the YES Grand Scholarship.
Available only to YES alum, the Grand Scholarship is handed out to students who continue to spread the NRA word after attending the DC centered summit. How? By bringing NRA's Programs
to their communities. And there are plenty of those programs ready for action on this high school senior's agenda.
"I want to help with the Women on Target programs. There are several every year in Emporia and Topeka. Then I hope to take the Eddie Eagle program to our local schools and teach younger kids about gun safety. I've also reached out to a Refuse to be a Victim Instructor to come to our town for a seminar or two."
An athlete, a scholar and an activist. Megan Hilbish. Another great example of an NRA Youth in action.