Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program

Sponsoring Agency or Organization

Contact: Mike Bonds

Email: cmbonds@agfc.state.ar.us

Phone: 501-978-7341

Program details

The Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program is the nation's largest youth trap program. Shooting sports, like many outdoor activities, are great sources of fun and relaxation when practiced safely and responsibly. The Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program is focused on providing a fun, safe environment for participating in shooting sports and reconnecting kids with the joy of being outdoors. The AYSSP raises awareness of conservation-related sports, promotes safety and responsibility, and rasies self-esteem.

Each AYSSP participant must be on a team. Teams commonly represent schools, 4-H Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church youth groups and other organizations, although anyone may form a group. Over 80 schools are represented in the 2009 season. Each team must have a coach 21 or older and must meet certain requirements, including but not limited to:

* A team must have at least five members.
* Teams shoot in squads of five members.
* A team may field as many squads as it can fill.
* Participants must take part in at least five team practices.
* Practices must be held on different days.
* Regional and state competitions do not count as practice.
* Each participant must shoot at least 25 targets at each practice.
* Each team must register with the AYSSP state coordinator.

The Basics
The AYSSP has two divisions: junior and senior. The junior division is for grades 6-8 and the senior division is for grades 9-12. Home-schooled students compete in the division they would be in if they were in public school. Home-schooled students 15 or older must compete in the senior division. Trap shooting is the sanctioned sport of the AYSSP. The season begins February 1 and ends July 31.

Team Support Packages
A shooting team may apply for an AYSSP grant. A team must have at least five members and must practice at least five times. A grant will provide a basic team support package which includes:

* targets
* ammunition
* shell pouches
* protective glasses
* ear protection

Competition
The program holds regional and state tournaments.

Any type of shotgun action is allowed, as long as the bore is 12 or 20 gauge. Release triggers are not allowed. Trap machines that throw targets at unknown angles are used. The state coordinator may specify models of trap machines for AYSSP events. All shooters and coaches must wear appropriate eye and ear protection.

Only registered AYSSP participants are allowed to compete and practice. All teams must register by a date specified by the State Coordinator. Only coaches may register teams.

All coaches are require to go through the AYSSP coaching certification class, or another shotgun safety class recognized by the State Coordinator. Beginning in the 2010 season, all student participants must be hunter education certified.

The program is free of charge, but like all youth sports, additional costs may be incurred by parents to get participants to the highest skill levels.

Scholarships, trophies, and prizes are awarded to winning and placing squads.

Planning and Evaluation

Program objectives: 

Raise awareness of conservation-related sports

Familiarize young people with firearms and shooting sports

Provide school-based framework for shooting compeition

Promote firearms safety and responsibility

Provide social framework for participating in shooting sports

Raise student self esteem

Manual or Plan

This program has a manual or plan: Yes

Comments: The AYSSP Handbook contains the rules and regulations of the program. It is revised annually.

Evaluation

This program is evaluated: No

Metrics used to measure success and evaluate this program:

(Click on the link for each of these metrics to see programs that use the same metrics)

Program considerations and recommendations

General comments: Program is very popular and has really taken off. We're reaching people we haven't reached before.

Critical elements to consider when planning this type of program: Funding, strategies to get shooting sports programs into schools, student accident/health insurance

Special facilities needed to implement the program: Firing ranges equiped to handle trap competitions

Budget

Approximate cost to agency/organization to implement program: $275000.00

Approximate staff effort required to implement program: 1 full time coordinator and 1 secretary

Comments

This is one of several conservation education program offered by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.