By Lars Dalseide | April 11 2014 09:30

NRA's Samantha Olsen shares memories of her first NRA Day Camp back in 2001

Samantha Olsen leads the NRA 3-Gun charge appearing on NRANews
Recreational Shooting Specialist Samantha Olsen leading the NRA 3-Gun charge on NRANews

Recreational Shooting Specialist Samantha Olsen wears many hats here around the NRA. In addition to heading up our latest 3-gun efforts, she also oversees the Brownells/NRA Days. Coincidentally enough, Samantha attended one of these camps back in her 4-H days.

In fact, here's a copy of a report she filed for her 4-H book back in 2001.

Samantha Olsen getting ready for rifle practice My name is Samantha Olsen and I am a 14 year-old girl and I belong to the Cedar Mountain Shooting Sports Club in Culpepper, Virginia. I am writing about the NRA Camps because I have been to two.

The NRA camps that I have been to were held in Appomattox, Virginia. The camps were well organized. What I mean by this is all the coaches and the rest of the staff are well certified to do the job and handle safety issues that occur with the children or anyone else.

The first time I went to camp I thought it was going to be non-stop shooting. Actually it wasn’t that bad. You shoot in the morning then you go to lunch, soon after you go back to your shooting place. Before long the shooting day was over. At this time you basically got to do whatever you wanted until dinner time. After dinner there is a little program which everyone could attend, and of course you didn’t have to. After the program you could go swimming or hang out with your new friends. Before long it was time to go to bed after a long day of hard shooting.

The last day of the camp is when you have the big competition.

Samantha Olsen trying muzzleloaders at an NRA Day in 2001

On this day the coaches cannot coach the children. All they can do is watch and make sure everyone is following the safety rules. Then after everyone competes and the coaches tally up the scores and after you clean your gun, then you have to clean out your cabins and make sure you get everything packed up. When all the parents arrive, the coaches begin the award ceremony, which I think was really impressive.

At camp I learned a lot from the coaches.

The first time I ever went to camp I won first place in the smallbore rifle (.22) and before I went to camp I didn’t even know how to hold a .22. Not long after camp I was receiving awards for smallbore light rifle events. I also shot shotgun in the intermediate class (The staff divides kids into sections depending on how good and how long they have been shooting).

I didn’t receive any awards, but I can say my shooting has become a lot better. Before I shot shotgun down at camp I was shooting 10 clays out of 25, then at camp I started shooting from 15-20 clays out of 25 clays, which I say is pretty good.

What I’m trying to say is that there should be more camps like the camp down in Appomattox because the coaches are great and I know if there were more camps like the NRA camp a lot of kids would be going to them.

Samantha Jo Olsen
Olsen's shotgun skills improved so much that she eventually earned a scholarship to ACUI powerhouse Lindenwood University. Not too bad for a scrawny 14 year-old who started shooting 10 out of 25.

Samantha Olsen on the rifle range at an NRA Camp in 2001

Learn more about Brownells/NRA Days at


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