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Butler County 4-H Shooting Sports Program aims for success

Butler County 4-H’s Shooting Sports Program aims to teach children the basics of safety techniques associated with shooting activities as well as provide them the fundamentals for success in life.

This program provides children in the county ages 9-18 years with the opportunity to learn and compete in a variety of shooting sports. Areas of discipline include: trap shooting, rifle (.22 cal, bolt action, air and BB) pistol (air and .22 cal), muzzleloader (rifle and pistol), archery (compound bare and recurve, bow hunter and target) and hunter challenge.

Children can choose to learn one or multiple disciplines and will be taught by experienced coaches and individuals. Students can choose their level of participation in the program including attendance of practices and outings to learn the skill and can choose to compete as they wish.

4-H Shooting is a year long program that will take place from September 1 – August 31 of the following year. Students taking part in competitions and will compete in age groups based on their ages as of January 1 of the coming year. Active practices will take place weekly for each of the disciplines with multiple opportunities to compete throughout the year.

“They will be spending their time doing something useful. Not just watching t.v. or looking at a screen,” 4-H County Extension Agent Lloyd Saylor said.

The program will be free and  Lloyd Saylor said that some equipment such as guns and ammunition will be provided for children to use, however other disciplines will require individuals to purchase and bring their own equipment, targets, ammunition, etc. Registration fees will be required for competitions.

Children of all experience levels are invited to participate in the program. The Butler County 4-H branch encourages those with no prior shooting experience to join and learn in a judge free and positive learning environment. 4-H would also like to see those with disabilities or circumstances that may not otherwise allow them to compete to take part in the program.

“It is not just a sport for an athlete, it’s a sport for anybody,” Coach Shaun White said.

Director Lloyd Saylor said the purpose of the shooting program is to provide children with the four-core values of 4-H: a sense of belonging, mastery of a skill, independence, and generosity. Taylor said these are the things that will make them successful and prepare them for life.

“Instilling values of 4-H will help them succeed in what they do and hopefully, some of what we teach them sticks with them and it makes them a better person,” White said.

While students are encouraged to participate in competitions, Coach Tim Southerland said it is not required and is more important for children to have a positive learning experience and to be given the chance to interact with other children.

The program provides an introduction to the safety and use of firearms and archery equipment and will be stressed heavily during training. 4-H discussed how crucial it is for children today to have skills and knowledge in this area.

According to surveys that have taken place since 1976, Director Lloyd Saylor said that 97 percent of kids in Butler County now live in or are frequently in homes with a firearm. Butler County 4-H believes that learning proper use of firearms will result in children making better and more responsible decisions.

Taylor also stressed the importance of adult and volunteer involvement in the program. He said students learn and grow to be like the people they are around, and it is important to have people that want to contribute to the students’ success. Lloyd said they are always looking for more people to help with their programs and can start the training process to become a coach anytime.

Butler County 4-H also offers a hunters educations course at the schools each year. There are also many opportunities for children to pursue upper levels of the disciplines in groups such as NASP, 3DSA and AIM/ATA trap.

The Shooting Sports program currently has eight students however, 4-H would love to expand the program and believes that if more people knew about the program, then it would receive a lot more attention.

Taylor hopes that all 4-H programs provide students with the skills needed to grow and develop into successful and responsible adults. Students can sign up at any time throughout the year for the Shooting Sports program but are encouraged to sign up now so that they can get started at the beginning of the upcoming program year.

To sign up for the program or to become a coach, or for additional information, call 270-526-3767 or email  

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