Walter Young Jr. at the National Shooting Competition 2011

Attending the National 4-H shooting contest for Walter Young Jr. was a once in a lifetime experience and was something he'll never forget.

Attending the National 4-H shooting contest was a once in a lifetime experience and was something I'll never forget.  It was nice to meet the shooters from the other states. However, the experience for myself and the other participates could have been much more enjoyable with a few simple changes.  

The experience could be greatly improved by better communication of information.  We received very little information; what we received wasn't the most useful of information.  On the schedule it said I had to check my gun in on Sunday evening. This turned out to be inaccurate, rifle/pistol disciplines had to check their guns in then, NOT shotgun.  We were to check in the next day, at the shooting range at 1:00.  After checking in we did not know our shooting times for the next day, these were emailed to us, thankfully we had a laptop and could check our email.  

Although that was a national problem, Pennsylvania was not much better at communicating information.  If I had known that I would have to use the registration information from the national site instead of waiting for Pennsylvania to send me registration papers, I would have filled out the paperwork and mailed it in sooner – instead I received it two weeks before it was due.  Letting us know BEFORE the event that we would need to save receipts instead of the day AFTER we returned would have been useful.  Receiving a t-shirt and hat was nice; however mailing them sooner would have allowed all of us to actually receive them. Also the date and the fact that it was for the national event would have been a nice touch to have on the shirt.

Some of the states had sponsors on their shirts.  Sponsors to help offset the cost of the trip up front would have been nice.  I’m sure some of the coal and gas companies would have been happy for the good publicity.  Even if Pennsylvania had reserved a block of rooms at a cheaper rate and let everyone know at least we might have saved some money that way plus we would have been staying at the same hotel with the rest of the state.  Luckily for me we stayed at the same hotel as the air rifle and .22 teams and we were able to go to the Alamo and the Riverwalk together.  

Overall I had a great time at the 4-H national event.  However, with the expense involved in traveling to Texas, I don’t appreciate Pennsylvania 4-H forcing me to write this essay and holding “hostage” money that I believe was provided by the NRA to help offset the expense.