Our mission is to introduce and promote amateur shooting sports to youth by educating them in safety, sportsmanship, organized competition, and the ethical use of firearms, archery and other shooting sports equipment.
In 2011, William Peterson realized he had not trap shot for 40+ years so he looked around the area and found a local gun club. The first day he visited the club, there were about 75 youth participants. He was impressed by the skill and sportsmanship he witnessed and was excited to see so many youth involved in the sport. He remembered years back when there were so few youth yet lots of seasoned shooters. At the time, he thought this was just a normal Saturday at the club but had no idea this was a event for the local FFA chapter. Was he surprised on his next visits that the youth had all vanished and the well seasoned shooters had replaced them. The club was just like the clubs he remembered and the competition he had attended. It pleased him that these youth were having a great time competing in shooting sports. He vowed that if he could do anything to help the shooting sports gain popularity with the youth, he would try to make it happen. He started to train and gain knowledge of how it could all work. Since he had recently retired from a large farm equipment company, he had time to invest in his dream.
He started the gathering information and educating himself on the processes and the knowledge he would need to help area youth. A fellow club member and he both took on the challenge to get NRA certified shotgun instructors training. Then he became a 4-H sate certified shotgun instructor and the training continues to this day. So far, he carries credentials for ATA coach, AIM coach, NRA instructor in shotgun, and reloading of both metallic cartridge and shotgun shell. He has just recently attended and qualified to be a Chief Range Safety Officer and, in the near future, will also get a certification for Hunters Education from the State of Illinois as a certified instructor. All youth must pass the hunter education course to hunt in the state of Illinois and several western states require this class for adults to hunt in their state.
At this time, William discovered there was no money in the instruction of youth it was mostly a volunteer undertaking. He found other recourses that were doing similar programs in other midwestern states with much success. They suggested that he start a non profit charitable organization to support his efforts with the youth. After all, it was a need in the community. So, he has been working on incorporating and filing all the paperwork and documents with the federal, state and local governments to become a 501(c)(3) non profit organization.
We have many youth excited about the opportunities offered here. We even have a waiting list for our program! An aggressive, knowledgeable and visionary board of directors has been selected to help the organization develop and grow. They are all committed and willing to be involved in personal development, to learn the business and create a respected and valuable organization that will leave a positive impact on the area's youth, now and for the rest of their lives.
There are many ways to support our work through monetary donations, volunteering, and suggestions. For more information please contact YSSA President, William Peterson, at 309-945-2108 or [email protected].