by Christina Paladeau - Tuesday, August 15, 2017
State mottoes may seem like a thing of the past, but Indianans truly take theirs to heart. “The Crossroads of America” doesn’t just describe Indiana’s central location and the hub of major highways that pass through its capital city. It also speaks to a culture of cooperation in pursuit of greatness, a philosophy that shines particularly bright in the relationship between the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Crossroads of America Council (CAC) and the Indiana Friends of NRA.
Three years ago, CAC Director of Development Anna Hudak met NRA Indiana Field Representative Craig Haggard at the first event she headed after joining the Crossroads Council team. The two enthusiastic fundraisers hit it off and have been working together ever since to help both of their organizations reach new heights.
“Friends of NRA has a great relationship with the Boy Scouts, and my area has gotten better because of it,” Haggard notes. “By establishing a close relationship with the Crossroads Council, volunteering for their events and them volunteering for ours—not out of obligation but just to get to know each other—it has opened so many doors for both of our organizations.”
“I’ve been with BSA since I was 14,” Hudak explains, “as camp staff in high school and college, then working for councils in Minnesota and Iowa.” While helping to create a BSA Pistol Pilot Program in Iowa, Hudak found her personal love of the shooting sports. Then, after moving to Indiana, learned the ropes of BSA fundraising, which reinforced her dedication to supporting youth shooting sports programs.
“I now run a team of people who are responsible for our fundraising," shares Hudak, "and many of the same donors who support us go to Friends of NRA events.”
But the relationship between Indiana Friends of NRA and the CAC goes much further back than Haggard and Hudak. “They have been supporting this BSA council since long before I was here,” she notes. “We now have a really solid shooting sports committee of at least 100 NRA-trained volunteers.”
As the largest council in Indiana, the CAC operates shooting sports programs for hundreds, even thousands, of youth. Since 2001, more than $200,000 in NRA Foundation grant funding has supported those efforts, including the Venturing and Explorer programs, which serve both boys and girls.
Among them is the Police Explorer Program, an educational experience that provides a learning opportunity for teenagers interested in the field of Law Enforcement. “Since 2006 we have had a great relationship with the NRA Foundation and their support for the education of youth in Police Exploring,” shares Officer Matt Johnson, CAC Police Explorers Program Advisor. “Together we are helping shape the future of Law Enforcement.”
Shaping a future for the shooting sports and building the next generation of Americans who will treasure and protect those traditions is at the heart of this crossroads of the two organizations.
“The NRA Foundation and Friends of NRA have allowed youth groups, such as the BSA, to have a resource for adult leader training, supplies, and safety equipment,” says Hudak. “It is because of programs like these that Scouting can give thousands of young people in central Indiana the opportunity to learn how to shoot safely, earn Rifle Shooting and Shotgun Shooting Merit Badges, enhance their marksmanship skills, and perhaps create a lifelong hobby or career.”
“The culture in Indiana is one that emphasizes how by working together we can accomplish great things,” Hudak continues. “The partnership that we have with Craig Haggard and his Friends of NRA team is no exception. We have been able to support each other’s events and activities and in the end both grow our positive impact serving youth. We are grateful and thankful for the Friends of NRA and NRA Foundation grant programs and look forward to many years of continued success.”
Click here to learn more about Friends of NRA in Indiana and how you can apply for an NRA Foundation grant for your youth program! Also, check out a Friends of NRA event near you, today!
Republished from Traditions Quarter 2: 2017