One of the truly rewarding aspects of being involved with a youth mentoring organization is seeing the positive impacts that mentoring can have on a child. One of our Outdoor Mentors has been working with young Tristan for several years now. Matt and Tristan are matched through the Youth Horizons faith-based mentoring organization. Tristan just wrapped up 7th grade.
Matt first brought Tristan to our annual shooting clinic in 2015 to give him a taste of what the shooting sports are all about. At our clinic, held at the Ark Valley Gun Club, we have archery, BB-gun, trap and skeet available for any and everyone to try their hand. We have a couple of shotgun stations set up with a nice soft in-coming target that is easy for beginners to break and build their confidence. Then they can move to the other trap and/or skeet stations to see what the games are all about. We have volunteers from most of the local conservation organizations (National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, Delta Waterfowl), bowhunting groups, Venture Crews, police officers and trap team coaches and shooters all spending the evening sharing their passion for the shooting sports.
Earlier this spring, Matt reached out to Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors, asking if we could help get Tristan on his school’s trap team. Here in KS, the schools don’t cover the cost of targets or ammo or range fees. Those have to be provided by the families. Like many kids served by youth mentoring organizations, Tristan’s family didn’t have the extra money to enable him to join the team. We readily agreed to help make sure that Tristan was able to shoot.
As the season progressed, Matt again reached out to us, asking for some guidance. Tristan’s scores weren’t very good and he wasn’t making much progress. Matt asked if we knew of any shotgun shooting instructors who might be willing to lend a hand. Just so happens, we do know a few!
We reached out to Shannon Selstedt with FTAC Academy, who offered his services and after a few extra sessions, Tristan was seeing his scores headed up.
At the recent Kansas State High School Trap Shoot, held at the Kansas Trap Association, Tristan managed to tie for 11th (out of 90 shooters) in the 2A Novice Male bracket, breaking 73 out of 100 targets! Not bad for his first year shooting!!
Would this have happened without a mentor like Matt stepping up and giving Tristan the opportunity to shoot 4 years ago? Probably not.
Mentors like Matt are making tremendously positive impacts on children. The self-confidence and discipline that come with competing in shooting sports can last a life-time.
Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors is honored to be a part of making this happen for Tristan and we’re looking forward to seeing more great things happen for him down the road! That first 25 straight won’t be too far off!
Want to see this happen for more kids? Step up and become a mentor like Matt! Give us a call today and become an Outdoor Mentor!