By Maria Milligan
Jul 30, 2015

Lessons from the Shooting Range at Camp Maple Dell

I loved visiting Maple Dell Scout Camp last week because it gave me a chance to see Scouts in their natural habitat. I found boys swimming, hiking, building, eating, and learning all over camp. Because it was Wednesday and the troops had been there for a few days, the boys ran around with the confidence of knowing where they were going.

Maple Dell SignI have always loved visiting camp because my first personal experience with Scouting came from working at Camp Fife in the Grand Columbia Council. Being at camp reminds me of my own camp staff experiences and how they sold me on Scouting. We asked the staff at Maple Dell to tell us about their experiences at camp and how they saw Scouting change the lives the boys. Here are two stories from the shooting range:

Confidence on the Shotgun Range

There was this one scout one week who was the only scout in his class for shotgun. While that is fine and dandy for some, for this scout I felt that he could have used the support from his peers. One of the requirements for the Shotgun Merit Badge is to hit 24 clays out of a minimum of 50 shots. For the first 25 shots, he didn’t hit any clays. I then asked our Shooting Sports Director, Kyle Hansen, to step in to help him since Kyle has more experience working with shooters who are having difficulties.

Maple Dell Shooting RangeWhile I don’t know exactly what happened since I was not there, Kyle later came and told me that this scout had hit 27 out of 30 clays. When I saw that scout later on that day, I could tell that Kyle had really helped him. He not only helped the scout with his shooting, but I could see a difference in his countenance. His outlook was different and he seemed more confident in himself.

Facing Fear

Last week (July 13-18, 2015) I was working down on the Rifle Range when I noticed a boy standing at the back of the range crying. I approached him and asked him if he was okay. He told me that he was scared. I asked him what he was scared of and he replied that the guns scared him.

14BSA TR 0902.CR2 BSA Thunder Ridge Scout Camp July 17, 2014 Photography by Mark A. PhilbrickAt this point in time, he was supposed to be a “buddy.” A “buddy” is the person who loads the shooter’s gun. I asked him if he would be okay with me showing him how to load the gun a couple of times and then see if he wanted to do it himself. He replied in the affirmative. I showed him to load the bullet into the gun and that it was safe and easy. He then approached closer to the gun to watch again. I showed him how to do it and then had him try to load the gun. He loaded it and I asked him if it would be okay if I left to go watch the other scouts shooting. He said that would be fine.

After a little while I noticed that it was his turn to shoot so I again approached him to see if he needed a little encouragement. He seemed content and I watched him and he was just fine. Afterward, his dad approached me and thanked me for taking his son under my wing and not forcing his son to do something he was afraid of doing but encouraging and showing him that it was nothing to be afraid of doing. The scout later earned his rifle merit badge. He went from a boy completely terrified of guns to loving every second of earning his merit badge.

Maria Milligan

Author: Maria Milligan | Grant Writer, Utah National Parks Council, BSA

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One thought on “Lessons from the Shooting Range at Camp Maple Dell

  1. AvatarJordan Muschick

    If you are new to shooting and have never shot a gun before, please let us know upon checking in so that we may assist you. New shooters are encouraged to take a firearms class before shooting on the range for respect to other shooters and our range safety officers.


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