For the last 18 years, the Louisiana 4-H Shooting Sports program has been hitting the target in the area of life skill development. Through shooting sports, youth practice responsibility, leadership and sportsmanship while learning how to safely handle a firearm or bow.
4-H Shooting Sports is a friendly competition that starts at the parish level and slowly progresses to the regional, state and national levels.
4-H Shooting Sports alumni use the life skills they gain through the program to advance the sport and their futures. Tangipahoa Parish 4-H alumna Leighton Dempster, a University of Memphis senior, is captain of their rifle team. Dempster began participating in shooting sports when she was in seventh grade. By practicing hard, she was able to advance her skills and compete at the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships in 2011 and 2012.
“Because of shooting, I have made lifelong friends through my peers from 4-H, my teammates at Memphis and athletes at other universities,” Dempster said. “Not only has shooting sports brought me joy, it has taught me several life skills in order to succeed in the sport and my career. The shooting sports program changed my life forever, and for that I will always be grateful.”
Dempster is not the only Louisiana 4-H shooting sports competitor to shoot on a collegiate level. Jefferson Davis 4-H alumnus Christian Bergeaux shoots for the Ragin’ Cajun shotgun team at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Terrebonne Parish 4-H alumnus Kader Wilson and Jefferson Davis Parish 4-H alumnus Garrett LeJeune both shoot for Shreiner University in Kerrville, Texas, and Terrebonne Parish 4-H alumnus Brennan Lirette shoots at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. Caddo Parish 4-H alumnus Mason Kemp is expanding his archery career while shooting for Mississippi College’s archery team.
Winn Parish 4-H alumna Caitlin Connor began shooting at 15. A graduate of LSU, she now competes among the world’s top shooters as a member of the USA Shooting team.
“4-H shooting sports allowed me to obtain a basic understanding of firearm safety as well as an appreciation for the outdoors,” said Connor. “Competing with the Clay Wings shooting team allowed me to develop my mental game and fueled my desire to be the world’s best in shooting sports.”
Connor won the gold medal in skeet shooting at the 52nd World Shooting Championships in Changwon, South Korea, in 2018, and last year Connor was named the Team USA Best of September female athlete by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
She credits Donny Moon, a Winn Parish extension agent, and Brian Brewton, her shooting coach, for introducing her to competitive shooting.
Connor shared that “4-H has ultimately given me a competitive edge on the world stage in international competitions.”
4-H alumna and USA Shooting team member Caitlin Connor competes in skeet shooting
This article appears in the Louisiana 4-H 2019 Annual Report.