Founded in Imperial, Missouri, the Student Air Rifle program (SAR) has expanded to Iowa, Texas, and most recently, Pennsylvania. With a new support in the works between SAR and The NRA Foundation, the Student Air Rifle program is making leaps and bounds in its attempts to increase student involvement in the shooting sports.
Through incorporating SAR into schools, students are becoming more actively involved in target shooting activities. According to Jake Hindman, President, and CEO of SAR, “The Student Air Rifle program is a pivotal turning point in increasing student involvement in target shooting sports. Approximately 21-22% of our students had never participated in the shooting sports before coming into this program. The results are substantial. Not only does it teach safe shooting habits, but also grows confidence, which is crucial to youth development. It helps with focus, grades, and more, all of which are significant skills to tie into the school curriculum.”
The program incorporates air rifle shooting into school physical education classes to ensure safe shooting practices for students in grades four through twelve. Based on the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) model, SAR utilizes proven safety protocols, training methods, and equipment to offer students a fun and safe method of introductory shooting sports. Hindman adds, “This form of teaching is structured in a way that is even simple for the teachers or instructors to use.”
“This program exemplifies the same goals and ideas that are expressed through our Friends of NRA banquets, our grant program, and The NRA Foundation.” Kory Enck, NRA Foundation Senior Field Representative for Eastern Pennsylvania, adds, “This program exemplifies the same goals and ideas that are expressed through our Friends of NRA banquets, our grant program, and The NRA Foundation. It is also the best opportunity the youth in Pennsylvania have to shoot. It takes little equipment, is inexpensive, and is easy to both practice and compete in schools.”
With The NRA Foundation’s recent grant donation of over $15,000, SAR can now fund new rifles, pellets, and rifle storage for schools in Pennsylvania. Both Hindman and Enck share the excitement in this newly found support, as well as hopes for a strong, ambitious future for the program. “Long-term, we are looking for nationalization, tournament framework, and a lifetime of shooting sports for many of these students.”
Hindman notes, “We are looking for new states to get involved, and we are hoping for NRA volunteers to help out as well. For this program to succeed, it is important that community members become aware and involved with the program.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the program can find their website online, as well as frequent updates on the SAR Facebook page.