At the start of this past school year, we had a conversation with one of the pro-gun teachers at our high school, discussing the concept of starting a trap team. This idea has been thrown around for the past 10 years but never has been successful. With this year’s change of administration, we felt we get them and our Associate Student Body to back us while we went in front of the county school board to present all our gatherings on why we felt a high school trap team would be beneficial to the area.
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We presented them with facts about the growth of the sport, the safety of shooting sports, the community support and the student interest. We discussed with interested board members how the season would play out and why we chose the California State High School Clay Target League. There are a handful of local and state high school shooting leagues you should look into; we chose the one we did because we could compete with teams from all over the state with no travel expenses, and because our scores would be submitted every week via an online portal (True Team Scoring) during the 5-week season.
After the county school board heard all this information and took some time to do its own research, it agreed and encouraged us to move forward. Since there are 2 of us, we were declared co-presidents of our new club and began our recruitment for members. We built a team of 15 shooters and joined the California State High School Clay Target League, competing in the small school conference. Over a period of 3 practice weeks and 5 competition weeks, our first-year team took 2nd place in the California 1a/2 conference.
Starting a shooting club at your high school may prompt a challenge, given the nature of our sport. However, if you have all your information and plans lined up before you present to the school board, you may be surprised at how easily convinced the board members may be. With more schools joining each year, the sport is gaining additional support behind you.
Contact a local conservation/pro-hunting chapter, such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and discuss the possibilities of start-up grants and financial support. You will be amazed at how much interest you receive from these organizations to help promote your club. Have a copy of your club’s by-laws prepared that discusses your intentions and fundamentals that will be administered throughout the school year. Although you may change it up slightly before finalization, this will show the basics of how the club will function. Also, you need to stress that SAFETY is the number one priority. A few key bullet points to help educate the board members should include these things:
• All coaches have to be certified through the National Rifle Association (NRA).
• Any student participating will be required to have a parent attend the mandatory safety training so the student can sign off on the liability and training sheet that the instructor will provide. Students WILL NOT be allowed onto the field until both he/she and the parent have attended.
• Sports Injury Studies show that shooting sports have some of the lowest occurrences of injury throughout all high school sports.
• Research has shown, to date, that there have been no gun-related injuries in organized high school shooting sports.
Why start a high school trap team? The growth of sport shooting depends on new and experienced shooters being introduced to this fun sport, as well as enjoying a competitive, easy-going activity. Shooting sports help students learn safety, self-confidence, hand-eye coordination, team work and leadership skills. What we have found is that participation in trapshooting helps with concentration, focus and discipline. These skills will help the students as they grow and mature past their high school years. You learn to overcome peer pressure, to laugh at yourself and learn from your mistakes, you become a good sport, learn how to set goals and achieve them. A shooting range or gun club is a great place to make new friends with common interest, the is no age or gender limitations when it come shooting sports.