SANDPOINT — Seven years ago, Daughter's Day at the Range started out with about 28 young ladies.
Due to the success of the event, however, parents began asking if they could bring their boys as well. Since then, the Brownell's/NRA Daughter's and Son's Day at the Range has expanded to more than 100 kids each year.
North Idaho is a popular area for hunting and recreational shooting, so exposing children to firearms and teaching them the essentials of gun safety and use is a "wise" thing to do, said Cathie Malison, secretary of the Bonner County Sportsmen’s Association and co-chair for the event.
"The gun safety aspect of the program, plus taking the mystery away from firearms, as well as introducing a new sport, all is part of the program," Malison said in an email to the Daily Bee.
The free family event is for kids between ages 8-18 and focuses on gun safety, with an opportunity to learn how to shoot a .22 rifle or pistol in a fun and safe environment. Plenty of certified instructors and range instructors will be on hand to teach and ensure all participants are handling the firearms properly.
Firearms, targets, ammunition and safety equipment are all supplied free of charge. Youth participants may also participate in door prize drawings, receive free promotional items, safety materials, and enjoy snacks and beverages free of charge.
All of the supplies, equipment, prizes, food and beverages are possible through sponsorship and donations from the National Rifle Association, Brownells , Idaho Fish and Game, North 40 Outfitters, J -S Gunworks, Wrenco Arms, Firearms Safety Solutions, and many other local businesses and individuals who contribute to this program. The city of Sandpoint's recreation department donates the use of the range as well.
Malison said about 70 youth have already signed up for this year's program, which will be held June 9-10. There is room for 112 kids, with 14 per session, running four sessions each day. While she said they will stretch the top end of the age limit a bit, no one younger than 8 can shoot. Kids who are age 6 and 7 years old may participate in the 25 minute safety session given by Brad Kruger, NRA western region field operations director.
Applications are available on the Bonner County Sportsmen’s Association website at bonnercountysportsmen.org/projects, or e-mail a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Malone can be reached by email at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.