Youth Day at the Range: A bang-up success

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  • Courtesy photo Cooper Higgins, 10, puts into practice instructions he received from instructors to improve his aim. Cooper was one of several kids ages 8 to 16 attending the Youth Day at the Range. Cooper’s mother, Debbie Higgins of Naples, also attended the class in support of her son.

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    (Courtesy Photo) Samuel Genys, the 11-year-old son of Gin Genys, receives instructions from NRA Certified Instructor Don Jordan. Samuel was one of several boys and girls who attended the Youth Day At The Range gun safety class at the area shooting range.

  • Courtesy photo Cooper Higgins, 10, puts into practice instructions he received from instructors to improve his aim. Cooper was one of several kids ages 8 to 16 attending the Youth Day at the Range. Cooper’s mother, Debbie Higgins of Naples, also attended the class in support of her son.

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    (Courtesy Photo) Samuel Genys, the 11-year-old son of Gin Genys, receives instructions from NRA Certified Instructor Don Jordan. Samuel was one of several boys and girls who attended the Youth Day At The Range gun safety class at the area shooting range.

Shooting and gun safety skills were sharpened Saturday when over 20 local youth took part in Youth Day At The Range. This regular event allows 8 to 16-year-old boys and girls to learn basic shooting and safety techniques using a variety of .22 caliber rifles under the supervision of certified instructors.

“We have offered this opportunity for a number of years now and the response has been excellent,” said class instructor and event coordinator Bob Young. “The kids and their parents all seem to enjoy it a lot.”

One young student had never shot a gun before and others had only shot BB guns or pellet guns. For them, this was their first opportunity to shoot a REAL gun.

Saturday’s free event (yes, free!) was held at the Kootenai Valley Gun Range and was cosponsored by the Kootenai Valley Rifle and Pistol Association and the Kootenai Valley Sportsmans Club. There were two classes, one at 9 a.m. and the other at 11 a.m. Breaking the students into two groups allowed for a safe environment where the instructors could offer more individualized instruction and supervision.

Each session began with classroom instruction featuring a slide presentation and an overview of shooting do’s and don’ts. Then the real fun began as students moved over to the gun range. Each student had their own shooting station and a rifle provided by the class. They then took turns shooting different types of .22 rifles that involved various kinds of loading actions and aiming strategies. There was also a wide range of targets for the students to aim at, including the most popular of all — water balloons.

In total over 2000 rounds of ammunition were fired by the kids resulting in the demise of nearly 200 water balloons and other paper, plastic, and metal targets. A lunch of pizza and pop was also provided free of charge.

Helping with supervision and instruction were National Rifle Association Certified Instructors Bob Hobbs, Bob Horton, Harley Arrants, Rhome DesBiens, and Don Jordan. Other helpers included Darlene Young and Ted Ludlum.

Young is hoping to have a three gun event early this summer that will allow students to fire handguns, rifles, and shotguns.

“It is all about safety,” Young stressed. “And having a good time.”

For more information about this upcoming event call 208-920-1182. For safety reasons, class sizes are limited.

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