GLS&R club hosts youth for National Hunting & Fishing and YOD events
DANFORTH — Around 150 participants came out Saturday morning for the National Hunting and Fishing Day/Youth in the Out of Doors event at the Great Lakes Sport & Recreation Club in Danforth.
Activities for the day included archery, a fishing pond, .22 rifle shooting, shotgun skeet shooting as well as a trapping display and an ORV program.
After no event in 2020, the ability to have it — and other events — in 2021 was something the club relished, said club president John Servant.
“It just means the world to us,” Servant said. “We had the youth shooting (program) out here for seven weeks. Participation was down a lot, but we had a lot of volunteers. Everybody was anxious for it, and the people that did show up had a good time.
“It’s just great to see the kids back out here again.”
One of the biggest aspects of the event is introducing the youth to the proper handling and importance of firearm safety at little to no cost for participants.
“That’s our future,” said Servant. “We, as club members, feel if we don’t share this experience and try to make it as cheap or free — most everything for the youth is free out here. Their parents can join, and the kids can shoot for free because we have youth funding from many generous sponsors.
“If we don’t teach these kids how to handle a gun responsibly then we feel bad if there’s an accident or something. At least, if they come out here, they’re taught how to handle a gun the best we can teach them in the little bit of time we spend with them.”
In years prior, the event could draw up to over 300 kids, said Servant. With the impact of COVID-19, numbers have dipped, but Servant hopes to be able to build the numbers back to where they used to be.
“We used to have 300 or 400 kids. It was phenomenal,” he said. “We’d love to get back to that. Hopefully, we do.”
For the programs and events the club is able to host, there are numerous people that make it happen.
“There’s a lot of people that put a lot of effort into this,” he said. “Russ and Mary Nelson have been doing this as long as I can remember, and they just love it. And they have a lot of volunteers. Everybody here is a volunteer that’s helping with it. From the Great Lakes Fisherman to the S.O.R.V.A. (Snowmobile and ORV Association), and we’ve got a trapper here. It’s just great.”
Servant also mentioned the significance of providing a safe place for kids to use and learn about firearms.
“It’s a very important part of the community, I think,” he said. “We try to do this so kids can come out here and shoot instead of shooting someplace they’re not supposed to be shooting.”
The club, aside from teaching the youth, provides a place for anyone to come out and shoot as well.
“If there’s more people that want to come out and join, my God, come out and join,” Servant said. “The family membership is free, and we accommodate everybody. Everything is handicapped accessible out here. It’s a good system.”