Jamboree shooting sports staff is right on the mark

K. Stevens’s Venturing crew out of Denver has a very narrow aim. In her crew, it’s all shooting, all the time.

“That’s all they want to do,” she said. “We have boys who are older and able to do so many things [outside of Scouting]. We do what it takes to keep them involved in Scouting, and we’ve learned that shooting keeps a lot more kids in Scouting.”

Shooting sports are a big draw at the 2013 National Jamboree, too, where Scouts and Venturers show up in droves. At the trap-deck shotgun area alone, the staff has put through 800 Scouts a day.

Stevens is one of several friendly, highly trained instructors at the trap station, led by Iona Baldock. There are five stations in the shotgun area: sporting clays, five-stand, powderball (shooting paintballs at a moving target), trap deck, and an arcade duck-shooting game.

As shots sounded across the Barrels area, Baldock told me the Scouts and Venturers who shoot aren’t the only ones happy about the Summit’s new shooting areas.

“You can see Mt. Hope right over there,” she said, indicating the town far in the distance. “The locals tell us they love hearing guns in the hills again. They think that’s awesome.”

You see, the Summit grounds were once open to hunters, but when construction started on the site, those hunters went elsewhere. With the Summit’s opening, the sound familiar to locals has returned.

I stepped up to the trap deck having never shot a shotgun. Thankfully, Hunter, a 17-year-old staff member from Colorado and trained instructor, was there to help.

Hunter, whose hands were blackened from cleaning guns for the past seven days, was patient and supportive while showing me the proper positioning and how to aim for success. When I shattered a clay target, I think he cheered louder than I did.

Many thanks to this helpful group for all they do to keep Scouts and Venturers coming back again and again.

You tell me: How well do shooting sports activities go over in your troop or crew?





19 thoughts on “Jamboree shooting sports staff is right on the mark

  1. Our Scouts really enjoy shooting sports. Our guys usually schedule one camp out per year for shooting. We call it the “2nd Amendment” campout!

  2. Whittier Narrows shooting range in the Los Angeles Area Council is first rate. Before the Scouts get a chance to touch a rifle, they put them through an in depth orientation and instruction session. When they shoot there is a ‘Volunteer Adult’ supervisor standing over the all Scouts guiding them. An ideal resource. I wish there were more topics in our area, and all you have to do is show up. If every District in Scouting had a specialty, there would be no need to re-invent the wheel. Just make improvements each year. We would have terrific programs “good to go” in every Council in America.

  3. My campers are about to shoot round # 31,300 in six weeks, and that’s just .22. We’ve gone through case after case of shotgun shells so that I’ve lost count (the office will have a number for me). We repair about 70 arrows a week to keep archery going. I just worry that units holding shooting outings are following G2SS and the Shootig Sports Manual.

    Of my six staff, I have 4 assistant or apprentices in rifle, shotgun, 3 assistants in muzzle oading rifle, and 4 level 1 archery instructors. It makes life easier.

    • To give you an idea of size, on the 14 positions (out of 48) we could open on the Trap Range alone we were going through 16,000 rounds of shotgun ammo on a full day. We had two additonal shotgun ranges open (Sporting clays and 5 stand) that I don’t have the numbers for….

  4. My boys (previous troop) loved shooting. I’ve been shooting since I was 6….more than 50 years ago. Now, my question is this? Where the heck are you getting your ammo, lol….did NHS decide to part with their stache for the good of the BSA, lol!

  5. We have a lot of resources (range safety officers, convenient ranges) at our crews disposal. I give interested youth the contact info, and if they plan it, we go!

  6. Why is the Jamboree given a pass on scouts shooting Pistols? The 2013 G2SS states “Pistol shooting and high-power rifle shooting are reserved for the youth who are involved in the Venturing and Sea Scouting programs only.”
    Where high caliber rifles used at there too? Noticed a photo (official BSA) showing a young scout shooting a rifle that was in no way a 22 cal.
    If this is also true, then the same question as above.

  7. I am actually on the shooting sports staff. I was on Steele plate pistols for .22 and 9mm. This was a pilot program to see the feasibility of incorporating pistols into the Boy Scout program specifically approved by National for select councils and the Jamboree. Additionally there were other pilot programs allowed, such as bolt action .223 and bolt action .308. 95,984 participants shot a variety of firearms under the instruction of highly qualified supervision where all of us are Range Safety Officers and NRA Pistol Instructors, but many of us are also former, retired, or active duty/ reserve military with proficient knowledge and skill of safe use of firearms.

    Because of the methodical discipline, overall instruction and the professionalism of the staff…Zero…and I repeat zero injuries, incidents, near misses, or any problems happened this Jamboree.

    Some of the finest young men and women 13 with 8th grade finished and up participated in pistols.

    The response from the youth and the Scoutmasters was unanimously the same… This was awesome, safe, fun, and needs to be a part of normal program. I had the honor of working with thousands of kids from the BSA and countries around the world and safely teach fundamentals of shooting pistols safely. I look forward to doing it again.

    • This information should have been put out to the rest of the Nation (and not in the fine print of some obscure report). I have heard from many Boy Scout leaders that it is OK for scouts to shoot pistols and high cal rifles citing the examples they have heard of or seen at Jambo.
      While the Jamboree may have the resources and expertise for “test” programs, most councils do not. Especially with individual units.
      In BSAs rush to “be everything to everybody” and to “compete with other youth programs” we keep lowering the age appropriate restrictions for this and many other activities.
      When will we be allowing Cubs to shoot pistols? Will it be before or after allowing them on “High Adventure” activities?
      Can not allow some other youth group sign them up in pre-K before we do! Funding would suffer, oh no!

      • Councils were asked if they wanted to participate in the pilot program. The shooting sports committie for your council should have been contacted and asked if they wanted to be in the Pilot. I have heard that there is still an age limit of 14 for them to be allowed to shoot. As I did not work the rifle or pistol ranges I do not know if or how that was enforced.

  8. Now as for my Troop we have 5 NRA Range Safety Officers, 6 Rifle, Pistol, and Shotgun Instructors. 7 Archery Instructors, and soon to have one Training Counselor to expand our program. We follow the G2SS and the Shooting Sports Manual and safely participate as a Troop multiple times a year in Shooting Sports. Shooting is something all the boys and….their Moms like doing. Our Moms have back to back Shotgun Campions at the local summer camp on Parents night. All our boys and parents who want to shoot do the NRA Basic courses for the discipline they are doing. I can’t wait to see a Pistol Merit Badge.

    • Mr Don, did your troop get a special waiver to shoot pistols too?
      You mention following the G2SS, do you sponsor a Crew also?
      You mentioned “Moms” shooting too? Are you a Pack or a Troop? Or is that a moot point now?

      • Ron,
        To answer your specific questions:

        I am COR to three Units: A Pack, a Troop, and an American Heritage Girls Troop. At this time we do not sponsor a Crew, but it on my 2014 list of things to do.

        I started the Troop and the shooting sports program for it. We do not use pistols as part of the program because it is not allowed at this time. Hopefully the pilot programs this summer will convince national to change that policy. I’ve never agreed with a 14 year old Venturer that can shoot a pistol but a 17 year old Boy Scout cannot. However, as the Charter partner my responsibility is to mutually uphold the principles of Scouting, the rules per say, and make sure my leaders do the same. So at this time, pistols outside the National Jamboree pilot program are out for my boys until it is formally changed and incorporated in eligible activities for them to participate in.

        We do plenty of rifle, shotgun, and archery. Parents are welcome to participate when we teach NRA/USAA classes and workshops. They tend to gain just as much confidence, knowledge, skills, and proper attitude toward safe use of firearms/bows as do their Scouts. In our Troop we have active parents, both Dads and Moms. Both are equally a blessing and value added. It just so happens our local camp does a Moms shotgun competition on parents night at summer camp and the Moms tend to win it. My wife won once, and this year 14 Moms entered and a new winner from our Troop took top shot. You have no idea how proud the boys are when they see Mom shoot the clay.

        I also have a Pack who only participates in shooting sports at council or district events as allowed by Scouting.

        My AHG Troop has their organizations rules that are separate from BSA and we follow them as we’ll.

        Here’s my advice after almost 30 years of Scouting…Don’t buy into the “Scoutmaster rumors or lore” when it comes to these activities. There is a clear delineation as to what is and what is not allowed at the local council and unit levels. Failing to follow it or trying to find wiggle room, cut corners, or local interpretation to them will cause problems and liability for the adults in charge and your charter partners.

        I am glad you are interested in these activities. We were short staff and needed lots more help for 2013. Please consider getting NRA trained and volunteering at the 2017 Jamboree. You will learn quite a bit and gain valuable experience. Even if you can’t get to the Jamboree I recommend you take the courses to become an Instructor for Shooting Sports in your local council or unit. There is a significant financial and time commitment but when you help a new shooter get on target for the first time and they thank you it’s worth the thousands of dollars and multiple weekends plus travel it takes to do this.

        I’m in SC… Let me know if you are close and want to get involved.

        Mr. Don

  9. Our scouts have asked to years to be able to have a paintball match at a local course. Every time they ask we have to tell them “Paintball IS Prohibited in Scouting!” http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/Home/HealthandSafety/Alerts/Paintball.aspx
    Now on the official Boy Scouts of America flickr page shows MANY pictures of scouts shooting paintball guns. Is this another “special” program? It appears to me that national Jamboree can change the rules we have to follow any time they want.

    • The paintball action at Jambo was target shooting, not combat/capture the flag. Some councils have this at summer camp. But just like any “shooting sports”, target only.

  10. About 1/3 of the Trap Deck staff was from Denver and most of us work with the same Venturing crew. Many of the other Staff was back for their second or third Jamboree. Thanks to all that helped to make it a success. We made it thru some long 12 hours days, short staffed, few/no breaks and made sure the youth were safe and had fun!!!

    • The 13 and finished with 8th grade and up standard for High Adventure activities was used.

      I will also tell you Trap and 5 Stand were uber cool and when I got to shoot on the Sunday “8 hour day off” that we worked to help programs continue due to weather I was very impressed and had enormous fun. Guess deep down there is still something that always makes me smile when the flying clay becomes powder.

  11. Both my sons are Boy Scouts and Venture Crew members (dual registered) and both got to try the pistol and high power rifle for the first time at Jamboree. Though both have shot .22 rifles and shotguns they were looking forward to these new opportunities. We found the staff at the barrels to be of the highest caliper (pun intended but true) and extremely professional. They had complete control on safety while making sure the participants had fun and learned proper shooting techniques. In short, I think you would be hard pressed to find a better place anywhere for a youth to learn shooting sports than was available at this Jamboree. Thank you Barrels staff!

  12. This was the only area at the Jambo were there wasn’t a huge line according to scout son……He said it was too far for most of the boys to walk too.

    He said it was the best thing going and spent a couple of days there shooting.

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