This past year, The NRA Foundation gave the gift of lifelong firearm skills to a group of thirty-nine students in the state of Montana. The Broadwater County 4-H club of Montana State University offers students ages 5 and older the opportunity to learn life skills through programs in a diverse range of subjects, while promoting S.T.E.M. activities and community development. This is prompted by the 4-H’s mission, “to prepare youth for an ever changing world, as competent contributing adults.” One of the many educational 4-H programs that develop these values is in the shooting sports program.
Participants are given a choice between archery, shotgun shooting, or .22 rifle shooting. “Through the 4-H program, youth learn life skills, the safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment, and develop an appreciation for lifelong outdoor recreational activities,” stated As Montana State University agent Allison Kosto. “Our goal is to help youth learn life skills to help them make better decisions, take responsibility for their actions, and contribute to their communities.” “Through the 4-H program, youth learn life skills, the safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment, and develop an appreciation for lifelong outdoor recreational activities.”
The group applied for a grant through The NRA Foundation to help fuel their growing shotgun shooting program. Some of the students had previously become responsible for covering costs related to the program, providing unfair financial barriers. The club sought to remedy this by asking for help from The NRA Foundation. When asked why the program sought the aid of The Foundation rather than another agency, foundation, or the state, Kosto responded by saying, “It’s difficult to find grants that specifically support shooting sports. I greatly appreciate The NRA Foundation’s support for 4-H shooting sports programs.” She also noted how easy the application process was for the group as soon as their paperwork was in order.
When the grant was approved, Broadwater County 4-H received $4,700 in merchandise and a check. This completely provided the group with all the supplies it needed, from shells and safety gear to clay targets. The grant even allowed the group to purchase two 20 gauge Remington Youth Compact firearms. As the final grant report read, “the grant allow youth who didn't even have the equipment to participate the opportunity to do so.” This fortunately has caused an astounding forty percent increase in the program’s attendance. It was stated by Kosto that almost forty people felt the benefits this grant provided.
The program meets every Monday after school at the Broadwater Rod and Gun Club. The local youth who attend this program are guided to successfully exhibit the high standards of safety, sportsmanship, and ethical behavior in all shooting disciplines, promoting them to exhibit lifelong leadership skills. Kosto expressed her sincere thanks to The NRA Foundation for providing the shotgun program with this incredible opportunity, which had such a positive impact on the experience of the student participants.