Everyone knows that the future of the shooting sports—and along with it, the future of the Second Amendment—lies in the hands of the next generation. That's why the latest report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is so heartening. The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundatin (SSSF) recently ran a survey of kids and parents participating in its Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) arm, which focuses on sporting clays, trap and skeet; and the Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP), which works with action pistol and rifle sports. Here are 10 things we learned from this survey that are relevant to your family:
1. Gender parity is increasing. Thirty-eight percent of SCTP and SASP participants are female. Although there's certainly room for growth in those numbers, this figure is proof that more and more young people see target shooting as a sport great for both men and women.
2. Parents are paramount. Seventy-eight percent of participants were introduced to the shooting sports by their mother or father, 19 percent by a grandparent. (Survey respondents were permitted to select more than one option.) Seventy-four percent of participating students had parents who also engage in the shooting sports.
3. Some teens choose the shooting sports even if their parents don't. Interestingly, however, the schools themselves were responsible for introducing 22 percent of the participating teens to the sport. So it shouldn't be a surprise that about a quarter of the responding parents did not participate in the shooting sports themselves.
4. The shooting sports are overwhelmingly a positive influence. Ninety-three percent of SCTP parents surveyed said that the program had had a positive influence on their children. Fifty-two percent said they saw their child's grades improve after participating in SSSF programs.
5. Participants prefer the shotgun sports to hunting at over 3 to 1...but hunting is still a favorite. When asked which shooting sport they enjoy the most, 65 percent of teens listed the shotgun sports of skeet, sporting clays and trap combined as their favorite. By contrast, 20 percent named hunting. This figure isn't necessarily bad news for the future of hunting, however; the survey was composed solely of SCTP and SASP participants, not juniors as a whole. What's more, 77 percent of the respondents report that they do hunt.
6. Teens have tremendous influence over each other. This shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone who has ever been a teenager. However instead of a gloomy portrait of the negative effects of peer pressure, when it comes to the shooting sports, the news is all good. An incredible ninety percent of the junior responders reported introducing friends, family members and classmates to the shooting sports!
7. Their eyes are on the future. Eighty-six percent of the young responders plan to attend college or technical school after graduating, and 89 percent of them report that they would prefer an institute of higher education that offered a target-shooting program.
Are you interested in learning more about how the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation can help benefit your kids? Click here to learn more!