Ready, Aim... Targeting Life Skills Through 4-H Shooting Sports
Get kids on target through the 4-H Shooting Sports Program!
The Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports program has been active for more than 20 years. Youth in more than 70 counties participate in a variety of shooting sports areas every year! Members can learn safety and shooting techniques for shotgun, rifle, air gun, muzzle loading, pistol, hunting and wildlife, and archery. They learn how to handle firearms responsibly and learn respect for the natural environment.
The goal of all 4-H Youth Development programs is youth development. All project areas work toward developing skills youth need to be productive and positive adults in society. Decision making, teamwork, problem solving, being responsible and having high self-esteem are just a few of the many skills 4-H helps to develop.
Objectives specific to the 4-H Shooting Sports program are to:
- Encourage participation in environmental and outdoor education programs by exposing youth to shooting, hunting and other related activities.
- Support youth in developing valuable conservation and natural resources related knowledge, skills and stewardship.
- Enhance development of self-concept, character and personal growth through safe, educational and socially acceptable involvement in shooting.
- Teach safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment.
- Promote the highest standards of safety, sportsmanship, ethical behavior and conservation.
- Strengthen families through participation in lifelong recreational activities.
- Provide hands-on learning experiences.
To find a group in your area, visit your county MSU Extension office or check out upcoming 4-H Shooting Sports events and training workshops.
Adult 4-H Volunteers can become involved in many ways:
- Become a Certified 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor (See training tools link for details and upcoming training events.)
- Volunteers without a certification - are always needed! (Help with fundraising, volunteer management, organization, safety, event planning, non-live fire instruction, STEM learning, and more.)
4-H Members will learn basic skills and shoot under the direct supervision of a certified instructor/4-H leader.
- Local 4-H Shooting Sports clubs are open to all youth ages 8 to 19.
- Archery or BB Gun can be appropriate for age 8 with one on one adult direct supervision at the discretion and authorization of a certified shooting sports instructor.
- Teens ages 14+ may participate in training events, becoming certified to lead live fire events with their clubs, under the supervision of a Certified Shooting Sports Instructor age 21+. They may also become spokespeople for their clubs, sport, or 4-H through the Shooting Sports Ambassador program.
Ages of Participation by Shooting Disciplines Live-fire activities at any Michigan 4-H event (clubs, camps, events, tournaments, etc.) must be directly supervised by a 4-H volunteer who holds a current Instructor Certification in the discipline being offered. Instructors must recertify every three years. Refer below for ages of member participation. Remember that 4-H age is determined by January 1 of the current program year.
Cloverbud-age youth, ages 5-7, will not be allowed to participate in any 4-H shooting sports activities that include the handling or live-fire of any air-guns, firearms or archery equipment.
Currently, the Hunting & Wildlife discipline MAY be taught without live fire. If done in this manner, there are many activities that might be suitable for Cloverbuds. This includes activities such as wildlife identification (scat, skulls, fur, calls, etc.), plant identification, habitats, animal tracks, winter wildlife, basic outdoor skills, safety in the outdoors, nature scavenger hunts, ecology, predator-prey relationships, camouflage coloration, safety, and more.
BB gun and archery are appropriate for young people age 8 with one-on-one direct, adult supervision, at the discretion and authorization of a certified shooting sports instructor; also hunting & wildlife.
Air rifle, BB, archery, hunting & wildlife
Air pistol and gunpowder disciplines (22, shotgun, muzzle loader), air rifle, BB, archery, hunting & wildlife
Teen Leaders may be enroll as certified instructors and as Shooting Sports Ambassadors (both in Michigan and National 4-H Shooting Sports). When acting as instructors, teens must have a 21+ certified adult volunteer supervising the line.
Scholarships and Awards
- Michigan 4-H Scholarships and Recognition: https://www.canr.msu.edu/4_h_scholarships_and_recognition_program/4_h_scholarships
- The State Awards program offers the highest honor a 4-H member can receive. Members are encouraged to apply for this award in the Shooting Sports division, but may also be eligible in leadership, STEM, and other categories.
- Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) offers $1,000, one-year scholarship assistance to qualified juniors in order to encourage and reward their outstanding efforts. Based on merit, selected individuals are high school seniors who are currently enrolled in a team or club that is participating in marksmanship competitions. The CMP seeks applications from high school seniors who currently compete in marksmanship competitions. http://thecmp.org/communications/cmp-scholarship-program/
Hosting a regional event open to 4-H members from surrounding clubs and counties?
Contact 4H.ShootingSports@msu.edu to be listed here.
- 2023 Festival of the Pines Tournament - September 16, 2023. 3D and Target Open Archery Event. Held late September in Lake City, MI. This is a open competition, friendly to 4-H families. For information and to volunteer, contact Dale Mosher at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration form available here.
- 2024 Michigan 4-H State Shooting Sports Tournament. Date and location to be determined. Visit the tournament website for relay times, volunteer info, and more.
- 2024 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships. Date and location to be determined. 4-H youth from across the country will compete. Event details are found at the event website: 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships.
Support 4-H Shooting Sports
Partners include organizations wanting to expand youth development through conservation education such as hunting and shooting sports, and sportsman’s clubs willing to share their space with local groups. Assistance from individuals or organizations is welcome and critical to our mission. To donate, please contact the Michigan 4-H Youth Foundation. The following organizations have provided crucial funding support to youth shooting sports programs so they remain accessible to all youth in Michigan:
- The Federal Cartridge Company
- Michigan 4-H Foundation; 4-H Shooting Sports Endowment Fund
- MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development
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For more information on how to get involved as a youth or volunteer, contact your county MSU Extension office or:
Phone: (517) 432-7606