I have a small business, and during the year I'm contacted by countless charities and organisations, all wishing me to support their organisation. What all of these groups have in common is that they are nothing what-so-ever to do with the trade I'm in; therefore, I make a decision to support, where possible, those that I have an affinity with.
Now given that shooting and shooters in general are given such a bad press by nearly all the main stream media, you would like to think that those in the industry would be only too pleased to be associated with a positive, youth shooter, using firearms in a responsible manner, in order to obtain a nationally and inter-nationally recognised award, story, to help promote their products and shooting. Well in a nutshell, no they wouldn't. In light of the responses from the major manufacturers, which were all very polite and courteous, it would appear that their interest is only engaged when the person in question becomes an inter-national or Olympic level shooter.
The young and youths of today are the shooters of tomorrow, and they need to be supported as much as we can to make sure that our sport survives. Many of the clubs that are in my locality are slowly dying, mainly at the rate of the membership, and they have no youngsters waiting in the wings to make up for the losses.
The shooting industry needs to try to support as much as possible shooting at the grass roots level, rather than just the small elite group at the top of the tree. Our club has worked very hard in securing the support of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme to accept that target shooting was not only a skill, but a sport also.
Our club helps and supports numerous youngsters take their first steps into the world of shooting. We purchase many, many thousands of rounds a year from these manufacturers, and every now and then, a little support put back into the system would be appreciated.
For anyone interested, the shooter in question is only just 17, has been shooting for just under two years, has attained bronze and silver awards, and used small-bore 25 yard target shooting as their sport for the silver award. Their attention is now on attaining their gold award, and for this they have elected to shoot 50 metres and 100 yards, again using a small-bore format. For those that have undertaken this discipline before know what a demanding area of the sport this can be, with numerous new skills to learn in a very short period of time. I have every confidence that this shooter will achieve their goal, and we will make sure that we let everyone know. It's just a shame that the shooting industry here in the UK doesn't support such commitment and enthusiasm in our younger shooters.