The NSSF's First Shots and +ONE initiatives have aimed to introduce new groups and individuals alike to shooting sports. With August being declared National Shooting Sports Month, these resources have been utilized by the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation's SASP and SCTP members as a means to grow their teams for the upcoming season.
The SASP team, WildGats at the University of Arizona got their start in 2015 thanks to an NSSF grant and have been an enthusiastic partner for NSSF initiatives ever since.
This youth shooting sports team has been focused on sharing their sport via First Shots events for several years and just put on their latest introductory event on August 22nd. Along with event partners Southeast Regional Park Shooting Range and Pima County Parks and Recreation, the WildGats put on a wildly successful event.
"We had a 127 sign up in the first hour before we could announce that it was full," said WildGats Head Coach, Bill Perkins. "Talking to our guests, I was surprised. At our first five events, we have had ~50% new shooters. When I asked for a show of hands at our latest First Shots event, ALL the hands went up in all three groups. We also saw very high participation by women. I would guess over 80% this year."
Event staff greeted participants, with each group signing in and going through a quick temperature check. From there, new shooters were oriented by a First Shots powerpoint, staff introductions, gun safety rules, and future shooting opportunities.
From there, the University of Arizona WildGats athletes taught new shooters the fundamentals of grip, stance, sight alignment, and trigger squeeze with visible laser SIRT trainers. NextLevel Training, Platinum Sponsor of the Scholastic Action Shooting Program, manufactures training tools, especially helpful for new shooters.
Once given an introduction, First Shots participants were taken to the live fire range, receiving 1:1 guidance with a Coach, Instructor or RSO.