This year BASC is giving a significant boost to its work with young people. The reason is simple and goes to the heart of what BASC stands for; the promotion and protection of the sport we all love.
The survival of shooting depends crucially on numbers. More than a million people are involved in shooting, with just under half shooting live quarry. However the overwhelming majority are over 40.
Increasingly children are brought up with little direct contact with the natural world, no knowledge of shooting and a scant understanding of the countryside.
Moreover the messages they receive from the media and public opinion about shooting are often inaccurate and negative.
Against this backdrop BASC’s task is to raise an awareness of the benefits of shooting among the wider public and particularly among young people.
BASC already does an enormous amount of work to encourage and coach young people into shooting as well as taking our message to school children who have little or no opportunity to understand countryside ways (– see below).
All this currently costs more than £250,000 each year however we need to do more. Your support for this programme would be hugely appreciated.
But there are other practical ways in which you can help youngsters take up shooting. One of the most direct is by offering sporting opportunities for Young Shots at your country estate, syndicate, wildfowling club or clay pigeon shoot.
These could include beating, picking up, shooting instruction, accompanied shoot days, clay competitions or general countryside activity events.
If you would like to consider providing such opportunities contact BASC’s sponsorship manager Nick Glazebrook.
Some clubs have already responded generously with offers of activities. For example, the Pelyn Shoot in Cornwall has agreed to provide beating, picking-up and pheasant shooting for Young Shots aged 12 or over, including lunch and drinks.
There may be other ways you can introduce young people into country life and shooting sports. On pages 90-91 we publish a delightful article by a high school teacher describing how he led 14- year-old food tech students in a demonstration of preparing, cooking and eating wild game, including rabbit and pheasant.
The involvement of young people in shooting has been exploited by our opponents who see this as a means to attack us. Only last month the League Against Cruel Sports compared bringing children into live quarry shooting to a child sex abuse by stating that “we rightly condemn anyone who grooms children for sex and put them on the sex offenders register. But when someone grooms a child for violence to animals by giving them access to a gun and telling them that killing is good fun, we take no action”.
While we can either laugh this off or be offended by such gross distortions, such statements are designed to change public attitudes and prevent our children taking up shooting.
We cannot let this happen. It is up to us all to help to equip newcomers with the knowledge and skills that open their eyes as well as their minds for a lifetime in shooting sports.
WHAT BASC DOES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
- Last year our country and regional teams staged 54 Young Shots’ Days attended by 1,306 young people.
- Our shotgun coaching displays at country shows gave 2,153 coaching lessons – 1,072 to young people.
- In 2010 BASC attended five of the largest Countryside Live Events run by Countryside Foundation for Education (CFE) where BASC staff and volunteers gave talks on guns, shooting and conservation to more than 10,000 children, mainly from inner-city areas.
- BASC visits schools on the invitation of local police where there is a concern about the misuse of guns. These visits help to educate children on the safety aspects of firearms and how they can be used responsibly within the law.
- Through a generous individual donation, we commissioned a Conservation Explained teaching resource aligned to the national curriculum to give a balanced understanding of shooting and wider countryside issues. It should be going live soon.
WE WANT TO DO MORE
Our new appeal aims to:
- Expand the BASC Young Shots programme to include suitable “progression” days often with their first live quarry shoot.
- Attend more Countryside Live Events to reach out to even more children especially those from urban backgrounds.
- Further develop and promote our resources for teachers by attending conferences, advertising on teacher’s publications and websites and producing promotional materials.
- Help to fund youngsters seeking selection to shoot at international competitions. BASC is intent on creating a fund to help those young people to become an inspiration to others.
Our current work with young people costs more than £250,000 each year but resources are limited. We are therefore asking you to gift a donation of £35 or £3 a month or whatever you can afford will help us to help ensure the sport that we hold dear can be promoted and protected at a critical time.
To offer practical support to our Young Shots programme, or become involved in other ways, please contact Nick Glazebrook on 01244 573004 or email or get in touch with your regional representative.
Members can donate online by logging into the members area.