The 4-H shooting sports season is in full swing for most counties in South Dakota. 4-H Shooting sports takes place in almost every county. Most of our counties have either a rifle program or archery program. The rifle programs usually use the BB Gun as their starting tool and teach safety and the other skills through its use. The county archery programs start with either recurve or compound bows and grow the skills of the youth starting with those foundations.
Shooting Sports is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to get involved in the lives of youth. Instructors who have gone through a certification program in the various disciplines lead county programs. The instructor is responsible to teach the youth safety and to introduce them to the discipline they are working in. Safety instruction is the main priority of the shooting sports program. Instructors also help youth learn skills to improve their accuracy with various tools, but always do so in a manner that promotes safety. In a county program, there are other jobs besides instructor. County programs can use people to assist as range officers, someone to work on equipment, or someone just to help keep everyone pointed in the same direction.
To become a certified instructor in 4-H SS program, there are a few steps involved:
- Become a registered 4-H volunteer.
- Complete a discipline specific training in the discipline you want to help (Rifle, Pistol, Archery, Shotgun, Muzzleloading).
- Complete Youth Development training.
The discipline and youth development training are held together in a one-day training. Instructors trained in the National SS curriculum lead trainings and they have attended a weeklong training in their chosen area. The discipline training takes between 6-8 hours and will cover the national curriculum. The youth development training is at the end of day and is a necessary component in the training. While many instructors have a passion for their given shooting discipline, our programming focus is our youth. During the youth development training, participants learn about experiential learning which is the basis for youth education in 4-H. Participants will also learn about how various ages of youth learn and what is important to them at their various ages.