Scouting for a Shot
At Frederick Chapter #1 (Maryland), League members combined Scouting, service, and shooting sports for a memorable outdoor fall weekend.
Frederick Chapter #1 hosted a group of 26 Boy Scouts and 10 adult troop leaders for a campout and introduced them to a variety of shooting sports plus safety lessons and conservation education. Four of the Scouts were already members of the chapter’s youth program; by the end of the weekend, another 10 had signed up.
Ben Kelkye, who runs the chapter youth program and is the shooting sports and outdoor ethics coordinator, had the Scouts set up their campsite Thursday night so they wouldn’t miss any of their weekend training time. Friday night he held a three-hour safety and orientation session for all the adults and youth (ages 10 to 17). Saturday morning, Kelkye broke the Scouts into three groups and had them take turns at three different events: rifle, archery . . . and conservation projects! That first day, the youth shot 3,600 rounds on rifle and 1,200 arrows on the ranges. With the help of Frederick Chapter #1 members and a skid loader, the Scouts also cleared a wooded trail that will be used as a hunter safety education trail. In addition, Scouts improved energy efficiency in the chapter house by caulking windows and doors, and they helped with other maintenance projects. Over the course of the weekend, the Scouts provided more than 200 hours of service to the chapter.
Kelkye had the Scouts from his youth program mentor the kids who were new to shooting sports. “I put one experienced kid behind each kid who was just learning — I use this method when teaching adults too. I was so impressed to see how our kids used what they learned when teaching the other kids. At even the slightest little variation, they said, ‘No, no, no — this is what you have to do.’ That shows me how important teaching is to these kids and how much they take it to heart. It worked out great.”
Saturday night, the chapter treated the Scouts to a special dinner. “I knew I was going to be busy all day with the youth activities, so I asked my friend Skip Lewandowski to come in and help,” says Kelkye. Lewandowski and his son Nick butchered two deer and prepared a variety of dishes. “We had cream of mushroom roast, pulled BBQ deer, grilled tenderloin steaks with jalapeno and orange sauce, and kabobs. Many of the people there, especially the moms, didn’t want to try the deer meat at first. But after one bite, there was nothing left!” laughs Kelkye. “The three trays of spaghetti we fixed all went back into the fridge uneaten.”
The next day, the youth tackled shotgun — and 1,900 rounds of shells — and were entertained by local archery experts.
“We are well known for our youth program and hunter safety programs in this area,” says Kelkye. “But that one weekend did more to get the name of the League out than anything I’ve done. This was talked about throughout the Boy Scout community, and many families contacted me to have their children join our youth program or to find out information about the League.”
For more information about this and other Frederick Chapter #1 programs, please visit the Frederick Chapter Web site.