by Bill Bachenberg, NRA Board of Directors & Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays Owner - Monday, May 8, 2017
With approximately 36 million disabled individuals living in the United States today, shooting is one opportunity that can help many overcome the difficulties they face in everyday life. For thousands, it is a step toward making their lives better by expanding the range of activities they can enjoy.
That realization led us to host the National Disability Awareness Shoot (NDAS) at our Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays facility in Pennsylvania in 2013 and 2015, and we are gearing up to put on another great event this fall. The idea for the inaugural event came from the NRA Disabled Shooting Sports Committee, which is tasked with creating policies, programs and strategies to help those with disabilities. Proceeds from the events benefit The NRA Foundation’s Disabled Shooting Services Endowment.
This endowment supports the development of innovative instructor curricula and training programs to bring shooting sports opportunities to the disabled and to assist shooting facilities, suppliers and manufacturers with achieving the best practices and design guidance to improve equipment, accessibility and mobility for disabled shooters in perpetuity.
My wife, Laura, and I have made course improvements at Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays to facilitate disabled shooters’ experiences, and we want to do more. Our priority is to raise awareness and be able to create solutions for those with disabilities. We continue to learn what range owners can do to accommodate everyone, and we share that knowledge with the goal of educating and helping tens of thousands with disabilities.
As the inaugural event’s planning process took shape, a traditional, one-day sporting clays shoot morphed into a one-of-a-kind, two-day event that far exceeded anyone’s expectations—including ours! We want the shoots to be special; they need to attract supporters for future events and capture the attention of the disabled community.
Consequently, we make sure that the disabled community is actively involved, that each NDAS event raises awareness of challenges facing disabled shooters, and that we have an opportunity to listen to—and learn from—all the participants.
Both the 2013 and 2015 events were nothing less than outstanding.
Through the National Disability Awareness Shoots, we learned that we have a real opportunity to better involve the disabled community in the shooting sports. At the same time, we discovered that we have a lot of work ahead of us when it comes to understanding this segment of the shooting population and providing for its needs. Fortunately, NDAS events prove that the disabled community is open to more involvement in shooting, especially the kinds of programs that only the NRA has the experience and expertise to deliver.
The success of the 2013 and 2015 events has inspired us to host another National Disability Awareness Shoot this fall, scheduled for October 1-2, 2017, at Lehigh Valley. Proceeds will again go to the NRA Foundation Disabled Shooting Services Endowment, earmarked for helping facilitate disabled shooting throughout the country.
Helping disabled Americans achieve better lives through shooting is one of the many reasons why I fight for our Second Amendment freedoms. I invite you to join us in Pennsylvania this October to help those who are less fortunate find empowerment through the shooting sports.
Check out this story about the National Disability Awareness Shoot featured on NRA TV. To learn more about the Disabled Shooting Services Endowment and The NRA Foundation, click here.
Republished from Traditions Quarter 1: 2017