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YHEC: Where Families and Friendships Grow

YHEC: Where Families and Friendships Grow

This week was my first time at the NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) National Competition. As I walked onto the event site, I was blown away by the amount of people, cars, and tailgate tents.

The YHEC National Championship is a six day long competition with events running all throughout the day. Families travel across all across the country to spend a week outside in the July heat, all to support their young hunters. Parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, you name it. They were all there, setting up “camp” where everyone could relax in between events, cook out during lunch, and support fellow teammates. 

And while the kids were competing, their cheerleaders weren’t far behind. Groups of families, friends, teammates, and other competitors would gather in the spectator area to celebrate their competitor’s successes and provide encouragement when they came up short.

But the sense of family and community went behind the cheering section.

Many of the teams' coaches are also parents of the competitors. I even spoke with one mother from Arkansas whose son was a competitor and husband was a coach. 

“We’re both coaches in our club and we’re both certified in several different things. When we go to practice, we go as a whole family and it’s an all-day event. And then in our spare time, we still find ourselves shooting as a family. It’s given us something to do together.” 

Families get involved with YHEC all throughout the year. They educate and train their children and other team members on shooting, hunting ethics, and safety, all while passing down their passions of hunting and the shooting sports.

And while YHEC brings families closer together, it also creates friendships among competitors from all across the country.

“My favorite event is muzzleloader,” explains Hope, a 14-year-old competitor from Michigan, "It’s fun to meet people at the table and talk in between shooting.”

Even with the competitive factor, YHEC is a fun way for young hunters to learn and develop their skills, make friends, and bond with their families.

Want to get involved with YHEC? Click here to find your local or state event!
Family YHEC Youth Hunting

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