Johnny Morgan | 11/1/2007 8:16:16 PM
FRANKLINTON – The LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Outdoor Skills program featured a new exercise in gun safety for youth at the recent Outdoor Skills Field Day at the AgCenter’s Southeast Research Station.
"Shoot, Don’t Shoot" simulated real life, decision-making moments, such as not pulling the trigger until you are sure of what’s beyond your target, according to Stefen Givens, LSU AgCenter natural resources specialist.
More than 180 youths participated, 55 more than attended the February field day held in conjunction with the National Wild Turkey Federation’s JAKE’s Day.
"These field days provide a good opportunity for young people to learn about gun safety and other outdoor skills and to prepare for the regional and state competitions that take place in the spring," Givens said.
Besides "Shoot, Don’t Shoot," participants rotated among archery, rifle and shotgun stations. "The young people get hands-on experience at each," Givens said, explaining that the practical training is what makes the outdoor skills program popular.
Dakota Forrest, a 13-year-old from Summer Middle School in Tangipahoa Parish, was one of the first-time trainers in "Shoot, Don’t Shoot." He said it was a good experience for him because it allowed him to show younger kids some of the things he was taught while training for the position.
Dr. Pam Hodson, LSU AgCenter regional director for the southeastern Louisiana parishes, said the outdoor skills program is not just for the older kids.
"Today we have about 25 Clover Buds here. These are first, second and third graders who are not quite old enough to enroll in 4-H but are interested. So we have some special activities for them," she said.
Emily Becnel, LSU AgCenter extension agent for Washington Parish, worked with the younger children on worksheets about gun safety and trick-or-treat safety. "We also did a ghost hunt and made bows and arrows," she said.
Hodson noted that the activities are also a good way to get the youngsters involved in 4-H, which is the youth development and outreach program conducted in Louisiana by the LSU AgCenter.
Dr. Peter Cannizzaro, 4-H coordinator in the Crescent and Southeast regions, said the Florida Parishes Outdoor Skills program is currently made up of youth in St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes but is not limited to these parishes.
He said the program is poised for growth since the addition of a trailer that was donated to the program to carry all of the supplies that are needed to put on a field day such as this.
"The trailer makes this so much easier. We can haul the guns, ammo, targets and everything else that we use at the field days. Without the trailer, it would take three or four vehicles to transport what we use," he said.
The 17-foot enclosed trailer was purchased with funds donated by sheriffs Jack Strain of St. Tammany Parish, Aubrey Jones of Washington Parish, Nathaniel Williams of St. Helena Parish and Daniel Edwards of Tangipahoa Parish.
For more information on the Florida Parishes 4-H Outdoor Skills program contact Stefen Givens at (225) 222-4136 or visit www.lsuagcenter.com.
Peter Cannizzaro at (985) 875-2635 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Becnel at (985) 839-7855 or email@example.com
Stefen Givens at (225) 222-4136 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pam Hodson at (985) 543-4129 or email@example.com
Johnny Morgan at (225) 578-8484 or firstname.lastname@example.org