Shooting sports is one of the growing projects in the 4-H program, and used to be a high-enrollment project in Pratt County. Due to the loss of qualified leaders, enrollment has waned in recent years, but it may be on the upswing again.
The Pratt County 4-H Council has received a $955 grant from South Central Community Foundation to purchase supplies for the project. Marilyn Giles, Byers, is the shooting sports coordinator, and husband Greg is an instructor, along with Bob and Patty Fox of Pratt.
"I think it's going to be a worthwhile project," Mark Ploger, Kansas State Research and Extension agent for Pratt County, said. "There is a lot of interest out there. I think we can get kids into the local (4-H) program just because we offer this project, and then teach them other things as well. This grant will help tremendously."
Ploger commented on the project's emphasis on hunting safely in an area where the sport is widely enjoyed. With the grant money, they will purchase targets for archery and air rifles as well as archery equipment and maybe some air rifles.
Eighteen 4-H'ers were enrolled in the project last year, but surrounding counties have as many as 30 or 40, and Ploger believes that is possible in Pratt County.
The three instructors have all been certified after attending weekend classes at the state Rock Springs Ranch 4-H center. Giles will teach BB guns, air rifle, and small bore rifle. Bob Fox will concentrate on archery and Patty Fox will teach hunting skills. More instructors are needed for a full curriculum.
"We hope (the 4-H'ers) will gain a thorough knowledge of their equipment and shooting sports safety," Marilyn Giles said. "It is also an opportunity for them to learn from others in a positive environment, with the 4-H goal of developing well-rounded individuals and 'learning by doing.'"
Non-profit organizations in Pratt County were awarded $9,524 a total of more than $60,000 for the seven-county area served by South Central Community Foundation. These projects are of direct benefit to the people in the communities of south central Kansas, Executive Director Lynn Perez said.
In addition 65 teachers in the area received $100 grants to enhance learning experiences in their classrooms. An anonymous gift to the Teacher's Grant Endowment through SCCF has enabled the foundation to more than double the number of grants.
"School funding for teachers can at times be limited, and these grants are a way for teachers to get that extra boost to help with their classroom projects," Perez said.
The mission of the South Central Community Foundation is to enrich the quality of life through gifts administered exclusively for charitable purposes to meet the changing needs of communities. The service area covers Barber, Comanche, Kingman, Kiowa, Pratt, Rice and Stafford counties.
Page 2 of 2 - To learn more about grant opportunities or the foundation, please contact Perez or Maggie Southard at 620-672-7929 or visit www.sccfks.org.
Pratt County grant recipients
• Abundant Harvest Church of the Nazarene - air conditioner
• B-29 Museum, Inc. -Pratt Army Air Field historical walking tour signs
• First United Methodist Church - Mom's Day Out
• Pass It Forward Charities - Weather relief project
• Pratt Community College Performing Arts Dept. - iPad and accessories for World War II veterans project
• Pratt County 4-H Council - supplies for Shooting Sports project
• Pratt High School Band - iPad
• Pratt Teen Center - carpeting project
• Skyline Schools - High tunnel project
• Southwest Elementary - Beyond the Bell
• Pratt High School Physical Education Department - Fitness and Sport/Fitness Gram project
• Youth for Christ - Furnishings for Campus Life room
• 21 teacher grants, $100 each