This summer, BASC gave 5,000 young people from around the world the opportunity to try shotgun shooting at a major Scouting event at the Norfolk Showground from 12 to 17 August. Although there were contingents of Scouts and Guides from around the world, over 80 per cent of those attending were from local Scout and Guide groups from across East Anglia.
Following an approach from the organisers of the six-day International Jamboree called Norjam 2018, BASC sent a team of shotgun coaches to run our Introduction to Shotgun Shooting for the benefit of over 5,000 Scouts and Guides who signed up for tuition.
The clay shooting took place alongside activities such as air rifle shooting, archery, go karting, quad biking, abseiling, climbing, catapult shooting, caving, trapeze and the ninja assault course. Some of the BASC coaches attempted the Ninja Assault Course with some of the Scout leaders. I can report that they did not do well at this discipline!
The coaches were inundated with thank-yous from the Jamboree organisers to the Scouts, Guides and their parents. The shotgun shooting was one of the star attractions at the Jamboree. The Scouts and Guides loved shooting; for many of them this was the first opportunity to try the sport and what better way than accompanied by a BASC shotgun coach.
This was another great opportunity for thousands of Scouts and Guides to try shotgun shooting. This event has continued to raise shooting’s profile, not only within the scouting movement, but also in the eyes of the general public, taking another step towards normalising the sport.
To put the size of the event into context, BASC set up a shooting line three times the size of a typical coaching line at a large game fair. Fifteen shooting cages were used, 15 traps, 20 coaches and eight marshals. In full swing we were operating at 138 Scouts per hour over six days.
The middle day of the Jamboree is traditionally the VIP day, so our director of operations and head of press joined local MPs, councillors and Scouting/Guiding hierarchy for a guided VIP tour of the Jamboree. This was a great opportunity to forge stronger links with the Scout and Guiding movements. The Scout and Guide leaders could not thank BASC enough for their efforts.
A call for volunteers from the ranks of BASC’s certified shotgun coaches was put out last year. As a result, we were flooded with offers. This introduction would not be possible without such devoted members giving up several days of their own time in order to seize upon this amazing opportunity to introduce a new generation of people to shooting sports on an international scale.
Massive thanks must be given to BASC’s shotgun coaching partners, Browning, Eley and Promatic. They generously provided all manner of necessary equipment for the event, from guns and cartridges to clay pigeons.
Jamboree operations manager, Michelle O’Keefe, told me: “BASC have been so professional from the start and delivered a first-class experience for all the Scouts and Guides in attendance. I have heard nothing but praise from all the leaders who were at the Jamboree.”
BASC director of operations, Steve Bloomfield, said: “The sheer scale of the event was amazing and the work that the BASC staff and volunteers put in over the week cannot be commended enough. The Scouts and Guides had a great time trying shotgun shooting for the first time under the supervision of our dedicated shotgun coaches and hopefully BASC will have ignited a passion for the sport which will see some of them go on to a long shooting career.”