Nov. 3, 2007

MTU helps Boy Scouts achieve marksmanship excellence

Sgt. 1st Class Jerome Reynolds assists a young Venturer with the pistol. (Photo courtesy ov Virginia MTU)

Courtesy of Virginia National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit

SWOOPE, Va. – Members of the Virginia Army National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit took their skills to the remote mountains of Western Augusta County, Va., Sept. 22-23 and assisted the Boy Scouts of America with the 2nd annual Stonewall Jackson Area Council NRA "Shootaround."

The BSA Venturing/NRA Shootaround was held at the Council Camp located in Swoope, Va. The event drew 72 young participants in the BSA-sponsored Venturing program. Nine units from the Stonewall Jackson Area Council participated as well as Venture Crews from the Colonial Virginia Council, headquartered in Newport News, National Capital Area Council, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., and the Baltimore Area Council, headquartered in Baltimore.

Over 40 adult volunteers played a big role in organizing an outstanding program of Rifle, Pistol, Air Rifle, Archery, Black Powder-Muzzle Loading and Shotgun activities.

As an added program feature this year, the co-ed youth were able to try their hand at fly-rod casting and fly-tying. Saturday evening, a bonfire was held where various awards were presented.

Demonstrations and displays of handmade Indian flutes and a SWAT team weapons display filled the evening program.

The two members of the MTU, Maj. Mike Martin, state marksmanship coordinator, and Sgt. 1st Class Jerome Reynolds, assistant state marksmanship coordinator, provided basic pistol marksmanship instruction to the youth, using .22 caliber semiautomatic pistols.

The marksmanship events were tied to advancements in both Venturing and Boy Scouting requirements.

"Teaching the marksmanship fundamentals to a young member of this organization is particularly rewarding because these young men and women clearly have an interest in shooting", said Reynolds.

Martin noted that "many of these youth had never fired a handgun before today, and some came to our station with a certain amount of trepidation about handling a firearm. I think all of them left with a very clear appreciation for the handgun, and everyone learned the basics of safe firearms handling and the marksmanship fundamentals. The added benefit to our presence there was that of raising the awareness of some of the competitive shooting opportunities within the Virginia Guard.”

Plans are already underway for the 3rd Annual Venturing/NRA Shootaround in 2008, and the MTU plans on lending their support on an annual basis.

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