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Producing the Next Generation of Gun Owners

Yesterday, I was invited to check out the facilities of a Boy Scout reservation that has benefited from a few grants funded by Eastern Pennsylvania Friends of NRA. All I can say is wow. Wow.

BSACampTents1 BSACampTents2

It’s not that their facilities (shooting or otherwise) are the fanciest or most amazing I’ve ever seen. It’s the creativity and ingenuity of making every dime their shooting program receives go as far as it possibly can. It’s the fact that many of their campers come from out-of-state – states like Maryland, New Jersey, and New York – so this camp is often the only opportunity the gun community has to reach these boys. It’s the fact that regardless of the fact that they don’t have the facilities to serve special needs and disabled kids, their organizers put their heads together to make it happen and got those boys their rifle merit badges.

BSADownRange1 BSADownRange2

Seeing all the ways that they have had to problem solve with limited or restricted funds is mind-blowing, but hearing their hopes for expanding and improving the facilities to focus on accommodating more scouts is just plain impressive. Unfortunately, they can only do it if they receive the funding for it. And this is why I volunteer.

BSAShootingLine2 BSAShootingLine1

Because more than 5,000 boys from around the PA/NJ/NY/MD area go through this camp every summer. Think about that. More than 5,000 boys have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of shooting safely and get a chance to learn about the joys of the shooting sports every single summer because of this one camp.

BSARifleRangeSign BSARangeCleaningArea

Of course, rifle and shotgun shooting aren’t the only thing this camp offers. There’s archery, rock climbing, swimming, fishing, paintball, and even a science building. Apparently, the number of merit badges that can be earned at this one location are pretty ridiculous compared to other camps.

16 Responses to “Producing the Next Generation of Gun Owners”

  1. PubliusII says:

    Looks nicer than the Scout camp rifle range I used in the late 1950s. But the training we got was good. The camp hired/borrowed (?) a Marine lance corporal each summer to run the range and instruct kids working toward the marksmanship merit badge. He ran a tight range (naturally) and kept us in line.

    But the range you show is more posh than what we had. We got a sun/rain shade, but no benches — you just had to lie, sit, kneel, or stand on a carpet remnant. I’ve forgotten the make of rifles we had, but they were all bolt-action, single-shot .22s. We had to buy our ammo with cash: a penny a round.

    • Bitter says:

      I believe the shooting benches came courtesy of a grant a year or two ago. They re-arranged the firing line to make more spaces for boys to shoot.

      • Nick L. EMT-P says:

        how does on donate directlty to this facility? maybe they need somw ammo or other supplies, e.g., gun oils/cleaners, targets, etc.

        • Bitter says:

          I’ll try to find out about general donations to the rifle program and let you know. I know they already have really good relationships with the local gun stores, so they do reasonably well on supplies like that. At this point, their biggest needs seem to be around capital projects like getting a new slab poured for an extension of the main shooting area for new special needs lanes that more easily accommodate wheelchairs, a ramp up to the shooting area from the “road,” supplies to keep the merit badge “classroom” area standing and eventually surrounded with walls on all four sides.

          • Nick L. EMT-P says:

            thank you, bitter. i would appreciate the info. i’m from nyc, and the more kids from the tri-state area exposed to safe and fun fireaems handling the better.

            p.s. i assume you can see my email address?

  2. Dave says:

    Is this the hawk mountain camp? It’s been decades, but it looks familiar.

  3. Jack says:

    Reminds me of the Boy Scout camp I went to that was around the Deleware Water gap. We had a rifle range too. In NJ no less!

    I’ll second if there’s any way to donate.

    Things like this are vital. It’s a lot harder to demonize guns when dealing with people who’ve acutally used one.

  4. Jacob says:

    First gun I ever fired was a Rem. 870 at scout camp.

  5. Sean says:

    I’m an adult leader and am taking the Webloes (cub scouts) to a BSA camp in Western WA for 4 days this summer. At this age group the marksmanship is limited to BB guns, but the fundamentals are the same.

  6. Scott says:

    That range looks a lot better than my local scout camp (and I visit often).

    Scouts under proper instruction do very well with marksmanship programs.

    Cub scouts really like using paint balls in slingshots to hit targets.

  7. NUGUN Blog says:

    Hey Sebastian/Bitter, can you help me find resources on building an air rifle range? Appropriate back stops. (Not so much competitive, though it might be worth considering such specs).

    But basically think like scout/recreational/training class air rifle range.

    I tried inquiring of NSSF, but never got an email back.

  8. Ian Argent says:

    Those tents! They bring back memories, they do.

  9. Jim says:

    Hey, that’s Ockanickon, or “rock-a-nickon,” as we call it due to the local geology. Been there many a time with my son’s troop. And they do stretch their dollars as far as they can. Thanks for your support, Sebastian. I know the council would love to expand the range if possible.

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  1. Why We Must Train The Next Generation | Fill Yer Hands - [...] youth organizations that support shooting. Sebastian writes of the Boy Scouts in his area who are expanding their program. …
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