I have spent the past few days looking over all of the data and list of accomplishments that the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation for 2021. Considering the state of Oregon was still locked down due to Covid, we were able to get back to some sort of “normal.” In 2020 we were shut down much of the year. In 2021 we had some really big wins. It was great to go over the year and see all that we did. The big successes that we had will give us the momentum that we need to have an even bigger 2022. A positive message, viable solutions, we are in a great position to provide the meaningful help that our country needs. There was a lot of hard work and sacrifice that went into all of our accomplishments, but we have a really good team that makes it all possible. It is the teamwork that brings vision to reality. The vision is something that keeps us innovating and moving forward. Most importantly is the parents that see the value in what we are doing to help protect children. They come out and hang out for an hour or so. That way their kids can get the valuable information designed to save the lives of their kids.
In 2020 we got a grant from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s to develop our instructor development program. It was quite the process, legally. We started by trademarking and copyrighting our curriculum. In 2021 we were able to finally complete this part, with the legal process totally complete we are looking forward to expanding across the country. We got word this year and we couldn’t be happier to be ready for the next step. At the end of 2020 we also started the process of fundraising to buy a new safety van. One of our biggest expenses is our fuel costs. We needed a way to transport all our equipment in a safe and efficient manner. The only drawback was trying to find a Promaster van in the height of a global pandemic. I looked for literally months to no avail. I finally found a dealer that could order one built to order. We agreed on a price and we pulled the trigger. They said it would take around 6 months to be delivered. We had a set price so we knew the target for fundraising that we had to meet. It was important to not have any debt associated with this important project. We were able, with the help of great sponsors from the industry and the public to raise $50k to make the purchase. It took us around 6 months to pull it off, but we did!! We were notified by the dealership that it was ready in August. I tell you it was an amazing feeling walking in and writing a check for the entire cost of the van. Paid in full with ZERO debt!! We are so thankful for all of the help from the community with this project. Their investment in us is an investment in the safety of our children. This investment will pay dividends for many years to come. We are almost done setting it all up and ready for the road.
At the end of June, I was looking to set up a BB gun range at a local 4th of July event in Harrisburg. I contacted the city to find out the details. I was informed that shooting bb guns inside of the city limits was illegal. I looked at their city ordinances and there was a part that stated it is legal if I received permission from the City of Harrisburg. I called back and explained what I had discovered. They added me to the next city council meeting so I could get their blessing. The day came and I made a case for KSF on the importance of our mission and how shooting bb guns inside of the city limits at a city sanctioned event would be a benefit to the event and the families that were in attendance. There was a resounding 6-0 “YES” to my request and I even got a handshake from the mayor. It was an amazing feeling. I identified the avenue forward, prepared, and then executed. The event was amazing and we all had fun and reached a couple hundred kids. We look forward to doing it again next year.
Another accomplishment that we had was a trip in July to Hawaii to teach safety to the kids. I met a delegation of the Hawaiian Firearms Coalition back in 2019 at a conference. We talked about how great it would be to have us to come to the islands to help the kids. We kept in touch over the years and finally started the planning process. Once we settled on the dates we started working on the venues. It all came together nicely. In July we flew to Oahu for 4 classes. We were there for a few days before we flew to Maui for 4 more classes. We had a great time and we were well received by the families of Hawaii. We laid the groundwork for our return and the eventual start of a chapter there. It is our hope that with our support we can build a strong team of volunteers dedicated to safety of the children of Hawaii. We are planning to return in March for more classes. The friends that we made while we were there will last a lifetime.
Another victory that we had was an expansion into Washington. We were able to secure a few venues with the help of our sponsors in Washington. This expansion gave us the opportunity to reach more kids all while maximizing our time spent up north. This increased our outreach opportunities while helping increase our efficiency. It was a big hit. We were able to secure a new range that gave us the opportunity to teach the live fire component to our program. That is a huge addition to the Kids Firearm Safety 1 Classes that we already offer. We had great turn out and friends from the area came out to support us. They also leant a hand on the range. We look forward to being able to offer more classes in the neighboring state to the north. In 2022 there will be some big events with our friends and sponsors Aero Precision.
One of the last victories that we secured a spot at a new range. The Emerald Empire Gun Club has a rich history and we are thankful for the opportunity to offer our Kids Firearm Safety 2 class there, monthly. The range gives us options and is better fit for what we do over an indoor range. Safety is paramount and EECG is a better option than previous ranges for safety reasons. They are very supportive of educating the next generation. There we have the ability to go out to 100 yards. We are currently working on some advanced classes for teens and this will be awesome!! All that we accomplished in 2021 couldn’t have been done without a dedicated group of volunteers. The BOD that help steer our program are heroes. Our sponsors that continue to help us grow and expand have across the country. Lastly to all of the parents that have trusted us with the safety of their children, THANK YOU! It truly does take a village and we are well on our way to get where we are hoping to go. It all takes time and hard work, everything is in place. We cannot wait for what 2022 holds, stay tuned. Until next time. Be safe!