4-H Shooting Club aims to grow

Published 3:13 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shooting sports are forming a new sector in the Chilton County 4-H Club.

Alicia Karschnik of Clanton launched Chilton County’s 4-H Shooting Club a few months ago and is currently recruiting new members.

The club’s next meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Chilton County Extension Office. Current and potential members are encouraged to attend.

The shooting club is open to anyone ages 10-19 and requires no membership dues or previous membership in the 4-H Club.

“It’s going to teach kids about sportsmanship, self-discipline, self-awareness … all the self concepts,” Karschnik said. “Shooting is a positive and character-building sport. It teaches youth how to make good decisions.”

Karschnik is a trained 4-H volunteer leader and will oversee all club meetings and activities.

Members will learn the fundamentals of firearm safety, hunter safety, shooting etiquette and shooting technique, as well as how to properly load and clean a gun.

“I tell parents it’s not a Ping-Pong club. They’re actually going to be using firearms,” Karschnik said. “These kids are going to have to prove to me beyond a doubt that they are responsible (and) they’re mature enough to understand what they’re holding in their hands and the potential that a firearm represents.”

She said they will start with shotguns and practice shooting at clay targets, and she hopes to add air rifles and archery to the course list.

“It depends on the resources the state will make available to us,” she said. “Each time we practice, I’m going to have a form we have to fill out. Everything we do is going to be documented and filed in the state office.”

Another benefit of the club is that it could help members obtain college scholarships for shooting sports.

“There are actually colleges that have shooting teams,” Karschnik said. “There are also shooting sports in the Olympics.”

The 4-H Shooting Club observes child protection guidelines, and although members are not required to own firearms to participate, they may use their own during practice.

Trained supervisors will be at every shooting practice to inspect and clean the guns before and after use, and to make sure everyone follows the rules.

“You cannot let your guard down for a second when you’re dealing with something like a firearm,” Karschnik said. “We highly encourage parental involvement. It would be another opportunity for them to spend time with their kids.”

For more information, call Alicia Karschnik at (205) 312-8200.