The Youth Shooting Sports Alliance promotes the development and promotion of family-friendly shooting ranges with a positive shooting atmosphere conducive to new shooter participation.
The National Range Survey & Needs Assessment (2007/2008 Edition), conducted by the National Association of Shooting Ranges (NASR), reported that 71 percent of ranges believe that programs designed to attract young shooters offer an excellent opportunity for growth.
Two-thirds of the private ranges reported having a junior shooting program in place, with the majority of the remaining ranges expressing interest in starting one. Half of the ranges surveyed offered free instructions for the Boy Scouts of America or other community groups, and an additional one-third of the ranges expressed interest in offering such programs. The Assessment also reported that a total of 59 percent of the ranges surveyed see programs designed to attract families shooting together as areas with excellent potential for growth.
Cultivating our youth and their families could significantly increase their participation in shooting sports and carry on our shooting sports heritage. To capitalize on this customer base, the Assessment encouraged ranges to create a family-friendly environment and position the range in the community as a place for responsible, fun, and safe target-shooting and instruction. As a pro-active response, the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance focuses on improving gateways for youth and family participation in the shooting sports.
The priority programs that the Board selected are units of established youth organizations (i.e., the Boy Scouts of America, JROTC, Royal Rangers) that offer shooting sports as an integral part of their respective curricula.
As expressed in our vision statement, the majority of the priority programs selected are introductory in scope. This presents the challenge of ensuring that opportunities are readily available for the continuation and development of the joy of shooting for the kids as well as their families.
Shooting range facilities will help draw newcomers to shooting only if the shooting atmosphere is conducive to attracting whole families to the range. Too many club shooting range facilities are deficient in offering a positive shooting environment for total family involvement.
In order to attract families and new shooters, ranges must be user-friendly and customer service-oriented. Ideally, if we can develop a positive shooting atmosphere, we can increase participation, build positive community relationships, and ensure the viability of our ranges for years to come. Range managers must create a comfortable and helpful atmosphere for anybody who uses their facility.
As an initial effort to address these challenges, the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance (Youth Shooting Sports Alliance) hosted special youth shooting sports program forums in several communities in April 2008. These forums provided an opportunity for youth program leaders and representatives of archery clubs, gun clubs, and commercial shooting range facilities to work together to ensure that shooting range facilities in each community provide a positive shooting atmosphere conducive to encouraging new shooters and their families to continue their shooting experience.
By cultivating our youth and their families, we can leave our mark on the future of our shooting sports heritage that will continue for generations to come.
The Youth Shooting Sports Alliance provides guidance in identifying shooting sports programs that are deemed qualified for financial assistance and/or product support.
The Youth Shooting Sports Alliance’s organizational and strategic plan is to support youth shooting sports programs and lay out their purpose, mission, and goals.