I never knew…
I wasn’t taught or even given the choice to learn about firearms let alone develop new friendships that were connected by firearms. Growing up there were no firearms in our house. During my first marriage (to Law Enforcement) I was told that firearms were “Off limits” to civilians. These personal experiences “tainted” my thinking about not only firearms but also hunting. I know how a lot of our trailer attendees feel, walking by the trailer, taking the steps up the ramp and going inside, there is fear of the unknown but also curiosity.
Often, I see the “past” version of me in the women as they cautiously stand back, assessing what the trailer has to offer and struggling to find comfort in the unknown.
We, as Instructors, never force, but encourage the trailer attendees to Gain Confidence through Education by giving a Safety and Firearm Fundamentals introduction on a handgun and rifle and also a compound bow. We watch people break free of the fear that has held them back and help them make an educated decision about the next steps in their firearm or archery journey.
I have been with Shoot like a girl since Late 2018 and when I joined the team as a firearms instructor, I had never shot a bow or been hunting. Shoot Like a Girl has given me the courage and confidence I needed to go on my first hunt and the desire to learn to shoot and hunt with a bow. Many of the trailer attendees have their own stories. Some have never been around firearms and/or some have a traumatic experience that stems from or involves a firearm. Our final show of 2019 was at Pheasant Fest in Mitchell, SD. Statistically speaking more men than women attend Pheasant Fest. That weekend we had groups of hunters come through the trailer to see what we were about. A lot of them shot, challenging their friends to the best score. It was entertaining to us all. At the end of the first day, about 30 minutes before we closed, a group of women passed by the trailer. Looking back, I believe there was a purpose behind their visit. Four women, two came into the trailer, the other two would barley look over at us and yelled back at the friends that they were heading into Cabelas to shop. I now believe the first two were there to help their friend. They came in and experienced all three stations. Cheering and high-fiving at their success. When they were done, they left. Not to long afterwards they re-entered the trailer with the two friends who refused to even look at us before. One of the women stood back, very unsure and afraid. We talked, we gave her permission to say that today was not the day to try this, she began to trust us.
We were there to help her. She, like many of our trailer attendees ended her time with us understanding Safety, with successful shots on the target and tears in her eyes. Tears driven by so many emotions, but over all the feeling of ‘I am Ok” and Confidence.
Shoot Like a Girl is comprised of a team of Instructors and Coaches that are full of compassion and caring. We care for our clients and each other. We are there to help everyone Gain Confidence through our experience. It is that camaraderie and compassion that drew me to Shoot Like a Girl.
Whether we are at the firearms counter, firearms simulator or in the archery bay we all want each client/attendee to find their way through the Shooting Sports, and hopefully ignite a drive in each of them to want to learn more and take their shooting sport education to the next level.