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READY, AIM … Shooting a variety of firearms, including pistols, challenges Venturers. And soon Boy Scouts may also take part in pistol- shooting programs at approved council camps. The BSA’s Research and Program


Innovation team tested a pilot pistol marksmanship program at 10 summer resident camps in 2013 — including a program at the 2013 National Jamboree. The jamboree program was the only pilot program to include 9-millimeter handguns and steel targets. In this pilot program, Scouts 13 and older can shoot .22-caliber pistols after a series of safety and marksmanship training sessions. Pat Wellen, director of research and


program innovation, says the summer pilot programs helped test safety and develop “the specific program and course of fire for progressive shoot- ing sports programs in the BSA.” The pilot programs also unveiled a greater need for consistent instructor training and program delivery — something the research and program innovation team will focus on in 2014. Check with your council to see if a


nearby camp will offer the pistol pilot program this summer.


LEARNING HOW TO FIRE A RIFLE or shotgun doesn’t start at a gun range. For these Venturers, the required crash course begins Friday evening after their arrival at Camp Gorton, two hours southwest of Syracuse, N.Y. Jim Griffin, the council’s shooting sports committee chairman and an NRA training counselor from Dundee, N.Y., questions the crowd of teens, “How many of you have shot a firearm before?” The group overwhelmingly consists of beginners. A (mostly) blank slate — just what Griffin likes. “The great thing about learning how to handle and shoot a firearm in Scouting is that you’re in a safe envi- ronment. We’re going to teach you everything you need to know in order to shoot, and tomorrow you’ll be with instructors at the range who will help you along the way, ” he explains. In the camp’s dining hall, Venturers


sit atop wooden benches and listen as Griffin explains firearm safety and handling and basic shooting skills. The group practices focusing on a distant object with their dominant eye, an ability they perfect by gazing through a small gap in their hands. Griffin then addresses the


common feelings of unease experi- enced by beginners. “Does anyone feel


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S COUTING ¿ JANUARY•FEBRUARY 2014


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