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4-H Shooting Sports organizational meeting Tuesday
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 We are very proud of the success of our 4-H Shooting Sports members. Three members qualified for national last year and the state of Kansas shooting sports placed second in the nation! However, the 4-H Shooting Sports program strives to develop more than just accurate marksmanship skills. The number one goal is to develop the five life skills in youth: develop a positive self-concept, learn to make decisions, develop an inquiring mind, develop a concern for the community and learn to relate to others. The second goal is to provide a safe, controlled environment for the learning of safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment.

Third, the program strives to provide competition opportunities for participants who desire to compete. Not all members will choose to be in a competition, but for those who do they definitely have to exhibit their highest levels of safety, sportsmanship and ethical behavior.

Last, but not least, the program hopes to strengthen families through participation in life-long recreational activities. The leaders and members of the Barton County shooting sports program have worked for many years to build the program. It has been a strong and successful program for young people. Barton County has been represented at many area, state and even national 4-H shooting sports events.

The Cottonwood Extension District – Great Bend 4-H Shooting Sports program is gearing up for the new year. The first meeting for all Air Rifle members is Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 7 pm at the American Building just west of Aaron’s Repair. To enroll in the shooting sports program, youth must be 8 years of age on January 1, 2018. First, the youth must be enrolled in 4-H and in the shooting sports project to participate, so stop by the Extension Office for an enrollment packet or visit 

The first meeting focuses on safety and the rules for the program. No young person will be allowed to handle a firearm at the first meeting and no child will be allowed to begin the program until the health and participation information is completed and the child is officially enrolled. 

Here in Barton County we have certified instructors in only three disciplines- air rifle, small bore rifles and archery. Cottonwood Extension District has now joined with Ellis County and youth would be eligible to be involved in other disciplines if they are willing to travel to Hays for meetings and practices. 

The air rifle members are led by John Reh, Scott Smith, Jeff Clark, Brian Rowan, Steve Schultz, Frank Ochs, Leland Miller, and Jim Kohman. The archery program will begin in February. 

If you are interested in getting your child enrolled in shooting sports please contact the Extension Office at 620-793-1910 or contact our trained and certified leaders. 

Berny Unruh is the Cottonwood District 4-H and Youth Development Agent in Barton County. She is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at 620-793-1910 or at