You might recall my earlier, slightly panicked, blog post this spring in which I bemoaned the state of ammunition access in the U.S. this year. I truly feared that with limited stocks of ammo we might not be able to have our long-standing and treasured rifle program this summer!
I followed that with a thank you blog post after being overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from friends of Ghany, alum, staff, and even strangers who all rode to the rescue with tips, sources, ammo gifts and all that was needed to keep rifle going strong.
So I can’t help but follow up again to let you all know how wonderful rifle has been for us this camp season. And I thought the best way to do that would be to share with you the words of our very own campers. They were asked to finish the sentence, “I love rifle because…” Here are their responses:
My favorite answers
“…rifle empowers women.” – Mimi Perka
“…it’s really peaceful and it’s a good way to learn what you’re capable of. This is my first time and I took it because my friends said it was a good way to relax.” – Katie Becker
“…my mom did it and I really wanted to try it. I think it’s really fun.” – Reece Waller
“…it’s a great opportunity to try new things. I thought it was just shooting in a stall but it’s so much more. I can’t explain how good it is – it’s amazing. The joy of that 40 or bull’s eye is just so good.” – Chapin Rockwell
:.. you never get to shoot guns at home. I don’t think many girls my age have ever shot a gun. I’m sure I’ll take it every year.” – Hannah Abele
“… rifle is special. It makes camp unique and makes campers unique. It makes me feel talented.” – Maddie Thomas, JC
“…it’s something you don’t get to do everyday. It’s like, I get to shoot a gun and my friends at other camps are like, ‘that’s awesome.’ It’s a magical feeling when you get a bull’s eye. It’s my favorite activity.” – Emma Bates
“…it takes a lot of patience. I’m usually really loud and not patient and it helps me calm down.” – Isabel Zarrow
“… it’s really fun and it teaches you skills. it’s a good way to learn to work for what you want.” – Emma Wharton
Let’s not forget that feeling of hefting a gun! Hey, it’s fun, it feels powerful. It’s a lot to wield making it both powerful and empowering! So I categorized these answers as “power!”
“…I think it’s fun to shoot guns. It makes me feel really powerful.” – Anna Schumacher
“… you can do something other people can’t do.” – Peyton Fern
“…it makes me feel really powerful. I’d never shot a gun before coming here. Whitney got me to try it.” – Morgan Pence
A big part of rifle for us is about goal setting and personal growth. I love seeing the excitement, intention, and determination in our girls and then watching it grow as their goals get closer in sight (or is that in site?) 🙂
“…I really want to shoot 40’s and keep passing the levels.” – Riley Bowling
“It’s fun trying to shoot the targets. It’s fun seeing what you got and showing your targets to your tentmates.” – Adair Stanley
“…it’s a really good way to set goals for yourself.” – Katie Chamberlain
“…I just love it. It’s a good way to learn to set goals and it’s so exciting when you get there and go to a new position.” – Jane Ward
“…I like the feeling you get when you shoot really well and get close to your goal. It makes you really happy.” – Rachel Moore
Life boasts many pleasures and opportunities but in all honesty, though there are shooting ranges and such across the country, rifle isn’t otherwise offered in many settings. Schools, clubs, and local groups do a lot of things, but shooting isn’t always easy to find. That makes it an even more special opportunity to take advantage of learning to shoot while at camp. And that’s what a lot of our campers said, too.
“… it’s good to try new things. This is my third year. I hadn’t ever seen a gun before coming to camp, and I thought it was cool to shoot a gun.” – Morgan Aufenger
“… it’s an experience you only get at camp. The counselors are so helpful and supportive. It’s really fun.” – Virginia Hopper
“…I’m adventurous and I’d already tried all the other sports.” – Haley Frescoln
“…you can do something you can’t do everyday.” – Shelby Berger
“… it’s really fun. You get to do something you can’t do everyday.” – Alex Norbeck
“…I’ve never shot before and it’s nice to learn new things.” – Corrine Jones
“…where else are you going to shoot a gun? It’s a great place to set goals.” – Sunny Miller
And if you get obsessed with shooting, at least you have a friend with whom to share the joys of shooting out of a stance, and a friend to listen as you remain determined to move from sitting to kneeling. She’s bound to be the kind of person to appreciate that your target paper also makes for cool wall decor!
“… I just like shooting for some reason. You get to make new friends.” – Peyton Randolph
“… you get to shoot guns and meet new people.” – Delia Dresser
The Zen of rifle
Yes, shooting can be one of the best tools for focusing the mind. Quiet, calm, laser sharp vision, aware of your surroundings, easy stance, checking that all is clear, remaining stable and pulling that trigger. It’s Zen alright!
“…it’s relaxing. When you shoot it’s like you are letting go of a burden.” – Katie Gbekie
“…it’s relaxing and exciting at the same time. I want to continue when I go home.” – Jerrin Robinson
There’s no words…
And sometimes you just can’t put your finger on why you like to…put your finger on that trigger and shoot. And that’s okay too because sometimes you just like something because you like it!
“… I just really like to shoot. My brother encouraged me to try it. This is my third year.” – Isabel Wilkins
“…it’s awesome. That’s all.” – Ellie Haas
“… there’s just something about being able to shoot and get better at it and develop your talent.” – Grace Hicklin
As you can see it’s not just me who likes rifle. Our long standing culture of teaching girls to shoot is alive and well and thriving at Camp Alleghany. I’d like to thank everyone again for letting this year go off without a hitch!
–Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls