try to recruit new members...
This is a discussion on My local gun club within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I have been shooting recreationally for about ten years now, mostly trap, skeet, and five stand. When i look around at my local gun club, ...
I have been shooting recreationally for about ten years now, mostly trap, skeet, and five stand. When i look around at my local gun club, the Binghamton Gun Club, the average age must be around 70 or so. i am a young guy of 36, and wonder where our club will be in ten or twenty years?
We keep losing members about one or two a year lately. Never seems to be enough time to have "memorial" shoots for members who have passed. I hear every thursday night of the "good old days"... i have learned so much from my old friends, many of whom were in the armed services at one time or another.
I do see some youth interested in hunting, but i do not see a ton of middle aged people shooting weekly. Maybe its cause they have kids, and other responsibilities, without much money for shotgun shells, guns, etc. Our club is pretty active in 4H shoots, where we try to encourage youth to participate in skeet and trap... we also have the boy scouts, and get money from the NRA to help sponser youth shooting. I am just not sure how the club will last in the upcoming years.
Sorry to vent... thought i would speak my mind. Bunker
try to recruit new members...
It's good to speak your mind. Always. Frustration leads to anxiety and that's never good. Gun clubs across America need to survive for the simple reasons that groups have more power than individuals. With the thoughts and concerns you've laid out in your post.....maybe you should become the club president, or at least a board member for activities to boost those activities you see falling away. So long as you have time to dedicate in boosting the club as a whole. Our club is mixed. Actually we haven't done as much this year as the past two years for cost and logistics....and me and the wife ain't exactly young......but we ain't exactly old.
Getting the youth more involved these days is good, but it's getting away from us for having to compete with social media and the like. The shooting sports is more of an individual thing than a team sport. Team sports are more social and acceptable plus most of our youth need to be more active anyway from what I'm seeing. We're all to blame in ways. When we are able to turn the tide we must do our best to do so. Nobody else is going to go out of their way to make it happen. We're already too far behind the way I see it. There is always hope.
My old hunting club in NW Connecticut dissolved after the membership dwindled to the point that it was just a dozen guys well over 50, complicated by loss of farms which we stocked and hunted on just a handshake (and covered with insurance). You are smart to be alert to an aging membership, and to have an eye over the horizon.
I have no easy answers, and even the NSSF published a survey recently that pointed up the declining numbers of people involved in hunting. Kids today have instant messaging, X-Box and Wii and other instant-on recreational activities available to them, and Mom and Dad don't have to drive the kids anywhere to let that happen. Interactive entertainment is far better than just passive stuff (like watching TV), but sadly it falls short of getting kids outdoors 4 seasons a year and learning/enjoying natural surroundings. I haven't been connected with Scouting since the late 60s, but to me it appears that even scouting is marginalized these days.
I think we need to find ways to bring shooting back into the mainstream as a personal (as opposed to team) sport that a family or just a subset of the family can enjoy. Lose the connotation of "evil" associated with guns, and just enjoy the challenge of making small holes in a distant target by controlling sight alignment and trigger pull. Centerfire, rimfire, even a Red Ryder BB gun is enjoyable... but it's up to US to inspire and excite the upcoming generations in the shooting sports. Need to apply some "out of the box" thinking to find ways to attract those younger than us. For now, I'll simply say don't hide your fascination with the shooting sports; there's no shame in talking about how many steel plates or bowling pins you knocked down at the informal match last week, or how you were "this close" to 100 straight at the skeet field. And if someone shows a spark of interest, invite them to join you! I must drop a C-note or two each year in range fees and ammo bringing friends out to the range for the first time or two... but I don't mind, to me it's like buying a round of drinks or dinner for friends.
On the plus side, what I have seen that's encouraging is the Appleseed Project. This is an effort to restore America to a "nation of riflemen" by means of low-cost, 2-day shooting workshops. I've participated in 2 of them (got my Rifleman badge and shot high score at my second one), and I was encouraged by the number of adults who brought their kids along. While the unspoken goal seems to be to get us all competent with serious military arms, the route to that goal is paved with rimfire rifles, most popularly the Ruger 10/22, to maximize training effectiveness and to minimize cost. I would urge you learn more about the Appleseed Project, find your State Appleseed coordinator, and see if your club can host a 2-day event in the coming year. Promote it as a family affair. Get more information at http://www.appleseedinfo.org/
NRA Endowment Member
NROI Chief Range Officer
As long as you let your kids sit on their butts playing video games, you can kiss youth activities goodbye.
Treat me good, I'll treat you better. Treat me bad, I'll treat you worse.
Set up special events on some days, like IDPA, pin shooting, CMP qualifications, biathlons, SASS, whatever you can come up with that people will attend. Make some open to the public. Advertise. Have membership drives. Have family days where family members can shoot and get instructions and have a meal afterwards.
I know how you feel. I'm only 23 and it's rather sad to see how many people my age actually participate in a "gun club" beyond just going there to shoot.
Guns don't kill people, people kill people...and chimps do, if they have a gun
I ran and organized on e big shoot last year... it was 25 birds on the five stand, one round of skeet, and one round of trap from the 22 yard line, plus lunch all for $20... i had a huge oing table with prizes that i collected from 50/50 raffles that i had done throughout the year... all to benefit a good friend Larry that passed two years ago. Actually this year wsa the second annual shoot. i cooked for an interantional bunker/skeet shoot, and have done various other things to help out.
but.......... the problem is there is always a few to do all of the work... and then if that work is slacked on, oh how the complaining goes from everyone... instead of helping pick/clean up, everyone will ***** on how clean it used to be. Guess they all put their dues in.
All good recommendations on getting new individuals in. We do have a few club guns and also our club to be open to the public, but rarely do we have any true visitors that do not not know someone in the club. I will keep up the hard work, cause its a club i love dearly, and an activity i dont want to see lost to video games. Bunker