As I reflect on and close out 2022 I can’t help but think wow what a year we had!! As an organization we must celebrate our accomplishments but to also focus on what didn’t work out so well. As we we grow it is important to evolve, we do that by learning as we go. What worked? What didn’t work? These are important questions to find the answers to. This will help us stay on track and be more efficient with our movements. One thing that I am learning about myself is how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I put my heart and soul into this. I have had some really big wins but have had my share of setbacks. I am human, it is OK, and I learned so much.
In 2022 we attended our first SHOT Show. It was a fun way to network with friends that I’ve known in the industry for years but to also make new connections that are vital to our success going into the future. From there we headed to the Boat and Sportsman shows. This is where we traveled from Eugene, OR all the way to Anderson CA on successive weekends to outreach to the kids in these communities. We utilized our amazing Daisy Outdoors inflatable bb gun range. We reached around 5000 kids this year and got them involved in the the shooting sports with these great BB Guns. They are a very important tool. From there we headed to Hawaii for a series of classes on Oahu and Maui. Hawaii is an incredible place and we were thankful for the opportunity to be able to serve the families of the islands. We had 2 classes on Oahu and then hopped a flight to Maui where we taught over 10 classes in 3 days with the help from some really good friends. What was really important about the work that we did there was that we actually taught our level 2 classes for the community. Gun laws are extremely strict there with very few opportunities for the the Keikis to learn. It was a tremendous honor to be able to provide such vital education.
Once back from Hawaii we launched a fundraiser for our newest level of classes. The Teen Project was a way for us to raise the funds to outfit a new series of rifles to help with this endeavor. Thanks to some really great sponsors like Sporting Systems, Vortex Optics, HUXWRX, and Warne Scope Mounts. We were able to bring a very high quality set of (10) CZ 457 rifles on line that will be used for the Teen series of classes. Once we had them all set up we launched the classes. They have been a big hit and we look forward to adding a Teen Pistol class in early 2023.
We then had the honor of meeting a truly inspirational family from the Portland area. Our new friend Ryker, is blind and is easily the most inspirational youth that we have ever met. His attitude, demeanor, and fearlessness has really been inspiring to watch. It all started with that first Kids Firearm Safety 1 class in Tualatin that changed the way we do thing permanently because of how it taught us how to teach those that are blind and how those that have vision issues are even more vulnerable because of the lack of educational opportunities for them. The whole experience was so powerful and really changed my life forever. We then transitioned to the Kids Firearm Safety 2 class with Ryker, where he excelled. A little practice beforehand gave him the
information that he needed to be ready to load magazines with the other kids. The goal was equal opportunities for EVERY kid. It was our job as an organization to make that happen. We did!! He did so amazing! He has now joined us twice on the range and we built a custom rifle for him to use to continue his growth with us with the help from some great sponsors!!
In October we headed back to Dallas, Texas for GRPC. It was the first time since Covid where it was in person. I was able to network and give a speech about something that I am really passionate about, kids gun safety! It felt really good to have the microphone again so I could tell the world about a really cool organization, that I am really proud of, that has done some really cool things. The best is yet to come, as we continue to grow our outreach will increase. We went over 26,000 kids reached in 5 states this year and we look forward to growing that number exponentially in 2023. As I reflect on the journey it took to get here, I realize how much work I still have left to do. I will move mountains for the kids and I am very blessed to have a dedicated team of volunteers that help make it all possible. Lastly I would like to thank all of the sponsors that help make it all possible. Aero Precision was our main sponsor followed closely by our friends at Sporting Systems. Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s were solid partners like always. We did add Vortex Optics, HUXWRK Safety Co. and Warne Scope Mounts as part of the team as well. We had a positive year of growth and we look forward to another one in 2023. Until Next time. Be Safe!!