NRA’s mission to protect the rights of hunters and shooters depends heavily on recruiting new individuals to join our ranks. There’s strength in numbers, as they say, and broadening the base of people who hunt and shoot—and who in turn support Second Amendment rights—is the surest way to protect those freedoms.
For more than a decade, one of NRA’s top priorities has been to reach out to women in an effort to increase their participation in hunting and the shooting sports. The centerpiece of that effort has been Women On Target, a program designed specifically for women to give them a friendly and fun introduction to hunting and shooting. When Women On Target was founded in 1999, its overriding goal was to encourage and mentor women’s participation in what, up until that point, had been male-dominated activities.
Eleven years later, the program continues to make major strides in that regard, as evidenced by a record-breaking 2010 that saw participation in Women On Target Instructional Shooting Clinics increase by 20 percent.
“It’s been another great year for Women on Target Instructional Shooting Clinics,” said Diane Danielson, Women On Target Instructional Shooting Clinics coordinator. “Attendance has grown by almost 20 percent with 323 clinics and well over 10,000 women attending events all over the U.S. and in Ireland. The 2011 registrations were already coming in a few months ago.”
Among the new clinics held for the first time in 2010 was the very first Women On Target event held overseas—a pistol clinic attended by 24 women in Ireland.
“What has been achieved by running the Women On Target program in Ireland is there are now 24 women who have the basic skills in pistol handling,” said Declan Keogh, an NRA Certified Instructor who ran and organized the Ireland clinic. “Some will continue with the sport, some will not, but they will all relay the positive experience they achieved by participating in Women On Target to many other individuals who will hopefully take part in future programs.”
Including the clinic in Ireland, there were approximately three dozen more clinics held in 2010 than 2009 (323 vs. 288), representing an 11 percent increase. For the year, clinic attendance increased by more than 2,000 women, from 8,059 women participating in 2009 to 10,185 in 2010—a 20 percent jump.
With registration and scheduling already underway for 2011, the program is working to reach even more women and build on what it achieved this year.
“The Women On Target Instructional Clinics are a great way to give women an opportunity to learn or improve their shooting skills while sharing the camaraderie, support, and mentoring skills of other women,” said Danielson. “The avenues are endless and the options to explore different disciplines of target shooting, competitive matches, other types of firearms, and even continue on to be an instructor, are all out there just waiting to be explored.”
To learn more about the Women On Target program or to see a schedule of the exciting events scheduled for 2011—including Instructional Shooting Clinics, hunting excursions and postal matches—visit www.nrahq.org/women.