Boilermakers and Local Union Volunteers Introduce Kansas City Youth to the Shooting Sports

Boilermakers and Local Union Volunteers Introduce Kansas City Youth to the Shooting Sports

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Hosts Inaugural Boilermakers ‘Get Youth Outdoors Day’ in Kansas City Area

Spring Hill, Tenn.—Nearly two dozen Kansas City area youth experienced the excitement of the shooting sports for the first time on Sunday, Sept. 18, during the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) Inaugural Boilermakers Get Youth Outdoors Day at Powder Creek Shooting Park in Lenexa, Kansas.

A cooperative effort between the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, and Kansas City Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC), the free community event followed on the heels of the USA’s highly successful 13th Annual Boilermakers Kansas City Sporting Clays Shoot the day prior.

USA staff along with volunteers from the Boilermakers International, Greater Kansas City BCTC, Sheet Metal Workers Local 2, Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Local 518, and Bank of Labor provided participants with firearms safety instruction and assisted them with shooting bows and shotguns.

Boilermakers Secretary-Treasurer William Creeden assists a young boy at the sporting clays station.

“With 11 volunteers, all participating youth got lots of one-on-one instruction and plenty of time to shoot sporting clays and archery, and they performed exceptionally well—I’ve never seen anything like it,” said USA Conservation Coordinator Cody Campbell, who assisted youth at the archery station. “One young boy shot a bow for the first time and was getting 6-inch groups every round.”

While assisting a young girl at the archery station, USA CEO and Executive Director Walt Ingram discovered that she was trying to shoot right-handed though blind in her right eye. “Once we switched her to left-handed, she began hitting the target, and her demeanor changed almost instantly,” Ingram said. “It was really gratifying to see the change in her confidence and attitude.”

After USA staff learned this young girl was blind in her right eye and shifted her to a left-handed bow, she began hitting the target right away.

Volunteers from the Boilermakers International also were surprised by the success of first-time shooters while assisting youth at the sporting clays stations.

“One middle-school aged boy was a natural. He busted three out of four clays his first-time shooting,” said International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Secretary-Treasurer William Creeden. “Most of the kids and adults at the event had never held a gun in their hands, and we went over gun safety with each of them. I invited the parents to try shooting and several did. I think everyone had a great time—all the kids were smiling when they left.”

All supplies were provided at no charge, and each child received a goody bag containing free gifts. Youths and their families also enjoyed a free lunch, and many won raffle prizes.

“The small group of youth participants combined with dynamite instructors and supportive parents created a very intimate event,” said Gene Forkin, who retired as Boilermakers assistant to the president in July and has organized the USA’s Boilermakers Kansas City Sporting Clays Shoot for the past five years. “When the first clay was busted, everyone cheered. We worked with one young girl until she finally broke one, and when she did, I think I yelled louder than she did.”

The event was part of a series of free, community-based youth outreach activities organized under Work Boots on the Ground—the USA’s flagship conservation program supported by national and founding partners Bank of Labor, UIG, ULLICO, AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation, Buck Knives, and Provost Umphrey Law Firm.

“Our outdoor heritage depends on recruiting new participants. These types of hands-on, interactive events inspire love, respect, and a sense of responsibility for the outdoors and the shooting sports,” said Ingram. “We are proud to provide young people and their families with these rewarding experiences and extremely grateful to all the union members who make them possible. Thanks to the support we received from the Greater Kansas City BCTC, we’ve held a successful conservation dinner, sporting clays shoot, Take Kids Fishing Day, and now Get Youth Outdoors Day in the Kansas City area this year alone.”

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA): The USA is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Work Boots on the Ground (WBG): WBG is the USA’s flagship conservation program that brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to conservation projects that improve and enhance public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitat, restore America’s parks and mentor youth in the outdoors. The USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program works closely with federal, state and local agencies and other conservation groups to provide manpower needed to complete critical projects that may otherwise go undone.


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