From all appearances, Utah’s water year should be good since we have received a lot of snow lately. While cooped up inside, a good way to spend the winter is to work on your mental game. Most of you have probably heard that trapshooting is ninety percent mental. If that is the case, why don’t we spend that much time working on the mental side as opposed to actually shooting ninety percent of the time?
This month I would like to spend time discussing the different youth shooting programs available in the state of Utah. First on the list is the ATA’s AIM program (Academics, Integrity, and Marksmanship). AIM targets are registered ATA targets.
The following information is taken directly from the ATA web site:
“AIM is the official youth shooting program of the ATA. The program puts the youth on a level playing field as an individual and as a team. Ages for the program are from elementary school through college. Members of AIM will enjoy the thrill of shooting registered competition on a lev-el playing field as an individual and/or as a team. The purpose of AIM is to provide a safe and positive experience with firearms and registered trapshooting for youth, elementary school through college age. AIM encourages good sportsmanship and personal responsibility through competition while establishing the foundation to make trapshooting a lifelong avocation. Shoot-ers need to be academically eligible as determined by their parents and coaches.”
Individual classifications are used in each age category. Target minimums used to avoid shoot-ing penalty classes are different from normal ATA classification and are minimal.
Shooters are encouraged to shoot in Monthly Shooting Events, Online Zone Championships during the month of May, as well as the AIM Grand Championships. While participating in an event, the ATA provides general liability insurance for participants.
There are scholarships available to AIM members as well. Scholarships will be given out in three different categories; Academics, Integrity, and Marksmanship.
The AIM website and the operations manual both go into great detail on the program. Utah’s AIM coordinator is Trent Vandam. Utah offers a high school lettering program for AIM members.
Next on the list is the USAYESS program. This is the “Youth Education in Shooting Sports.” According to Utah UTYESS coordinator Brian Beard:
“The main goal of USAYESS is to get fingers on triggers in a safe manner. USAYESS is a scho-lastic program and most teams nationwide are tied to a school, just like football and baseball. In Utah, we are officially part of the Jordan School District and Alpine School District and have the ability to offer a high school letter statewide. All other teams are independent of the schools but still representatives of schools. Each state has a state tournament. There is then a Regional Tournament and a National Tournament.”
The following is taken from the USAYESS handbook:
“USAYESS was founded in 2012 and is the only all-inclusive national youth outdoor program which offers all six of the major shotgun disciplines. USAYESS introduces educational outdoor conservation activities to youth in elementary school through high school. With industry partner-ships and other relationships across the country, the total number of young shooters that USAYESS reaches is in the thousands. “
In Utah, we have several different USAYESS teams, such as Cache County, Milford Gun Club, Skyline X and, the Riverton Shooting Club.
Both the AIM and USAYESS program are eligible to apply for Midway USA Foundation grants. This is a great program that is directed to the youth shooting programs.
Both programs also include skeet and sporting clays.
Other programs eligible for the youth in the state are: The Scholastic Clay Target Program or SCTP.
USA Shooting which provides an avenue to get to the US Open, the World Cup, Junior Olym-pics as well as the Olympics.
There is also the High School Rodeo Program that is partnered with the National Rifle Associa-tion (NRA).
Then, of course, there is the Amateur Trapshooting Association, or ATA, which the AIM program is part of.
All of these programs have similarities as well as differences. Are they meant to be the same? No, nor will they ever be the same. It is almost impossible for any one participant to belong to all of the programs. It is important that parents and athletes alike pick which avenue they want to pursue and focus on that branch. Open, World Cup, Junior Olympics and the Olympics.