We shoot quite often, and sharing shooting with others is always fun. I became a shooting instructor because I wanted to teach safety and respect properly and to see the glow on a new shooter’s face.
A summer long ago, we had a very special guest and his family come for a visit. He has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, SMA, and we were happy to be a part of granting a wish for him. They came from San Diego so he could go white water rafting for the first time. When we had some downtime, we decided to share something else he and his brother and sisters had never done.
Their mother is always in awe of my obsession with shooting and the outdoors. I wanted to share a little bit with her and the family. Due to the amount of time, our special guest’s disability, and the number of shooters, we decided the crossbow would be the way to go. We pulled out the TenPoint Crossbow for him and his siblings to shoot.
At first sight, the kids said, “Wow! Cool!”
Hank taught the kids about safety, how to cock it, and how to shoot. Some kids were nervous about shooting, while others jockeyed to be first. The Little Gal thought it was neat that they were anxious for their turns.
After some discussion, our special guest was first on the bench. Hank and the Little Gal helped him sight in as he raised and lowered his chair to get lined up. The trigger pull was hard for him, so the Little Gal worked as his finger. He put his finger on top of hers. The two talked, and they inserted their trigger fingers together when he was ready. She felt, and as he applied pressure, so did she. Together he fired his first crossbow bolt. His face lit up as the bolt zinged toward the target and hit with a “THWAP!”
The youngest boy was begging to shoot. He and the eldest girl are “addicted.” They hope to look for a range or shooting class when they return to San Diego. They want to learn more about shooting. They wondered how the Little Gal knew so much about it and were intrigued when she told them about the summer camp she had gone to at the Whittington Center. She learned a lot about shooting there, but now she was learning about teaching.
With a giant smile, Little Gal said, “It was great to see their excitement about shooting.” She also thought seeing how our special guest didn’t mind her help was fun. She got to see firsthand what teamwork is about.
Me? I am extremely happy that the Little Gal got to experience something with new shooters. Sometimes we take things like this for granted. We shoot so often, and it is such a part of our lives that we may forget what a privilege it is. It is great that the Little Gal will be passing shooting, safety and respect on to others and get to see the glow on their faces as they pull the trigger for the first time.
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Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast.
Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.
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