Girls in Kenai, Alaska, have the opportunity to participate in a special personal defense program called Teens on Target, where they’re taught firearm handling and safety, and get to work on their marksmanship.
It’s held each year at the Snowshoe Gun Club and is conducted by officers from the Kenai Police Department, according to the Peninsula Clarion.
Teens on Target, along with Women on Target, a companion program geared toward adults, has been ongoing since 2008 when it was founded by Ted and Elaina Spraker.
This year’s class has been running since September, and has attracted eight students, four of whom took the class last year. The repeat customers may be seen as a testament to the program’s popularity.
The Clarion reported:
Elaina Spraker said that the inspiration for Teens on Target came from a conversation with the couple’s son, now 24, whom she said enjoyed going to the woods to shoot with his friends. Elaina Spraker asked him whether his girlfriend, who sometimes went on the shooting trips, enjoyed it as much as he did.
Her son responded that the girls in the group usually hung back and often seemed intimidated by the guns.
“That’s when the wheels started turning,” she told the paper.
In addition to the Sprakers, the class is taught by six volunteer instructors and is funded by grants from Friends of the National Rifle Association.
“You don’t really get formal gun safety when you’re learning this from your friends, your brother, or even your parents,” Ted Spraker told the Clarion. “They don’t necessarily teach you the principals you need to adhere to, to always be safe. That’s the thing that I really appreciate about these young ladies. Not only are they good shots, but they have the skills to handle [guns] safely.”
The Clarion reported:
In addition to safety, the course includes trigger technique, accuracy practice, shooting from a full range of positions, and a chance to gain experience with a variety of guns. Ted Spraker said that the class begins with shotgun trap-shooting, then progresses to rifles and handguns, and finishes with a course in the AR-50 assault rifle, which Ted Spraker said the girls are “not bashful about shooting.”
“Sometimes the only thing that saves us from running out of ammo is that it gets dark,” Elaina Spraker said.
And the program has seen positive results, according to the paper:
Matthea Boatwright participated in Teens on Target for the first time this year. She previously belonged to a 4-H shooting club, which she said shot only small caliber rifles and pellet guns. Her favorite guns from the Teens on Target class were pistols, because they are the easiest to handle.
Matthea’s mother Kirsten Boatwright said that the program has helped nurture her daughter’s interest in shooting.
“Her brothers are all involved in shooting sports, so it’s nice for her to have this opportunity,” said Kirsten Boatwright. “She loves being with the other girls, the interaction there. In the [4-H] shooting club, there weren’t any girls her age, and at this age that’s important.”
It wasn’t that many years ago when high schools sponsored boys’ and girls’ gun clubs and marksmanship teams, and students seemed to be a lot more mature then.
Maybe it’s time to return to the days of yesteryear.
(h/t: The Truth About Guns)