DCGC Sponsors NRA Youth Adventure Camper
Mark Skweres | Published on 8/12/2022
A great opportunity
Each year our club sponsors one lucky youngster to attend the NRA's Adventure Camp at the Whittington Center in New Mexico.
The Whittington Center
is the country's premier shooting facility with more than 33,000 acres and 25 ranges for all different disciplines. The youth Adventure Camp is a 2 week camp for boys and girls aged 13 to 17 where they have the opportunity to learn everything from shooting fundamentals, safety, marksmanship and basic survival skills.
This year's winner is ...
The 2022 recipient of this award was Megan Jaros, 16, from Roseville. She's been interested in the shooting sports since she was quite young, attending the annual Game Fair in Ramsey and testing her skills in air rifle and archery. Her family has always been active in hunting and outdoor sports, spending a lot of their time at their lake cabin and hunting land in Morrison County.
As Megan entered high school she became very interested in competitive shooting. She joined the Minnesota Centershots club team and began competing in the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), NRA and US Shooting Association events. Their range is a portable indoor range at the American Legion Post 102 in Anoka. At that facility they practice with high-end precision air rifles, but Megan also competes in the .22 rifle category in many events.
Practice pays off
Megan competes using both precision air rifles and .22 rifles. The air rifles are very high tech and allow her and her team to practice and compete year round indoors. This opens up the opportunity for youth that don't have access to outdoor ranges. According to her father, Ed Jaros, these indoor ranges can be set up and taken down with ease, like they do in their American Legion post basement.
Some hardware before the Camp
It's been an exciting season for Megan and her Centershots team. Prior to going to the NRA camp in June she competed in the MN State Junior Championships and took first place in both the Standing and Aggregate categories.
She's been practicing a lot and it seems to have paid off. This win along with several other high standings in regional matches allowed her to qualify for the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) national matches at Camp Perry, Ohio.
Megan's parents opted to drive her to the Whittington Center, taking some extra time to explore the area while she was at camp.
She was given the chance to shoot ALL types of firearms, including the big 50 caliber rifles shown here. It really was an experience that these kids could not get anywhere else.
Megan has always been active outdoors, particularly at their cabin and hunting land in Morrison county. So she took to the camping and wilderness activities at the center with a lot of enthusiasm.
On the last days of the camp her parents were able to join her for the final ceremony. She said she's made some friends that she hopes to keep in touch with, even though they are from other parts of the country.
We wish we had more pictures to share of her at Whittington Center, but they kept the campers so busy there wasn't much time for taking pictures and sharing them.
The Big Match
After Megan returned from the Whittington Center in July she left almost immediately for the CMP National Championships match at Camp Perry in Ohio. Camp Perry has been hosting NRA sponsored National Rifle Matches since 1907.
This wasn't Megan's first trip to Camp Perry as she'd been there for other matches and some training for youth shooters. But it was, to date, her most successful trip. After several competitions in Air Rifle earlier in the week she competed in the CMP 3 Position 50 Meter Outdoor Smallbore Iron Sight National match and won first place in both the Junior and Open Classes.
Grateful for the club's support
Megan sent the club a handwritten note thanking the members for sponsoring her trip to the Whittington Center. In her note she said:
Dear Gun Club Members,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to go to the NRA Whittington Center Camp. I had a lot of fun and made a lot of friendships that will last a long time. I especially liked the variety of different things we did there including camp out which was very fun. Without your help I would not have been able to have this experience.
The Future looks promising
Megan continues to dedicate time to honing her shooting skills through practice and local, state and national competitions. She has qualified for national competitions, including the Junior Olympics, and is proving to be a strong competitor.
Her goal is to earn a college scholarship in her sport, which is a big challenge since there aren't many of those available. But with her drive and enthusiasm for shooting, we believe she'll achieve that goal and many others.
Our club has always supported youth programs like Firearms Safety and Youth Shoots in an effort to share our love of the sport with the next generation. Financial support for local high school trap teams is where we've invested in programs that are really popular and need help. But there is more we can do, as a club and as individuals. And the Whittington Center sponsorship is perhaps the finest example of helping youngsters experience the joy of precision shooting sports.
Megan's story is just one example, but it highlights a need for more opportunities for youth who want to compete in rifle and pistol shooting. There are very few teams in Minnesota, particularly in Dakota County, who focus on small bore and air rifle competition. 4H and other programs are shifting towards shotgun competitions, so where do kids go that want to shoot but with precision air and small bore rifles?
If you are interested in helping develop youth rifle competition in our area, or you know of a team or program that could use some volunteers please consider posting to our members Forum on Competition Shooting. You can also reach out to me, Mark Skweres, at our website or by email at email@example.com and we'll pool our knowledge and resources to work on expanding these opportunities.
Let's see what we can do to give that next young shooter the chance to experience the sport that many of us have enjoyed for a lifetime.