4-H has given me so many opportunities, especially through Shooting Sports. When I started 4-H, I didn't feel l like I would really fit in with everyone because it was all about farming and raising animals, but that wasn't the case. Shooting Sports opened a huge opportunity for me and made me feel as if it was meant for me.
When I started Shooting Sports, I had no knowledge of what to do, but I had coaches that helped me through everything. I have improved not only as a shooter, but as a competitor and a teammate. Through this program I have been able to improve cooperation with others and how to work together to get something done, plus so much more.
I have also become a National Shooting Sports Ambassador, which is not only a huge role in my 4-H career, but also in my life. It has taught me public speaking skills, which is a very important skills I thought I would never be able to learn. I've always been a quiet person that never speaks in front of large crowds. With the work of the other ambassadors and the coaches, I was able to break that habit and I am now able to speak in front of crowds a lot more comfortably than I was before.
The National Shooting Sports Ambassador training has also helped me with leadership skills. I have been able to to help teach shooting sports in my own county with some of the younger kids who have joined and I have helped train them to become better at shooting sports so that they can pursue the same pursue the same path that I took, which is to qualify for state and go to nationals. They all started out in the same position I was in when I started, but I have given them enough information and practice to where they are also making improvements with the way they shoot. I am hoping to continue this training and to be able to get these younger kids the training they need to be able to qualify into state and make shooting sports a bigger opportunity for more kids.
In my Shooting Sports career, I started out doing air rifle and have now moved to .22 rifle which is a whole new experience and chapter in my life. The improvements I continue to make through the program has not only impressed me, but also the coaches and my family, who have all supported me.
Shooting Sports is an amazing opportunity and I never would have thought that it would have been this big of an opportunity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Braden May lives in Massac County and is currently serving as a National Shooting Sports Ambassador.