Brown attends NRA camp

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Submitted photo Katie Brown shoots standing 22-rifle on the range at the NRA Adventure Camp in June.

Katie Brown, age 16, daughter of Rocky and Barbara Brown of Fort Scott recently attended a shooting camp at the Whittington Center, near Raton, N.M., known as the National Rifle Association's Adventure Camp on June 8-19.

Brown was able to shoot archery, pistol, rifle, muzzleloader rifles, trap, skeet and sporting clays. She attended classes on knot tying (useful for the scheduled camp-out), outdoor cooking, compass reading, and other survival skills. During the last three days of the camp, they were treated to a camp-out in the area what is know as Coal Canyon, where the campers had to put up their own tents, cook meals for all the other campers and counselors there, and participate in what is known as the "walk through". It is a simulated hunt, where two campers and an instructor walk a designated path over a mile long, where silhouettes of game and other wildlife are placed along the path. The campers must decide if they can shoot the game (they are given a list of animals legal to take), and if it is a good shot, or possibly be a dangerous shot because you didn't know what you might be shooting toward. They are given points if they hit the "kill zone" on the targets, and additional points if they spot other wildlife in the area. They also answered a test over hunting and safety skills. This was a live fire test, so instructors accompany them on the walk-through to insure their safety.

Sponsors of the camp provide all the ammo and firearms which the kids use during their stay. During the camp, each camper will shoot over 1000 rounds of ammo. A highlight of the camp is shooting the "white buffalo" silhouette at 1123 yards with a 50-caliber rifle, donated for use during the camp. With the right instruction, many find they are successful in their first attempt. Brown was one of those who shot the "white buffalo" at the Whittington Center, a mark of honor for those who shoot there.

At the end of the camp, awards are given to the top shooter in each of the disciplines, and prizes are donated by sponsors as well. Brown, who had never shot muzzle loader before, set a camp record with her score on the muzzle loader range, by shooting a 276 out of 300. This score was the highest ever shot on the muzzleloader portion in the last 26 years by a camper. This included a target portion at 25 yards, and silhouettes at 25, 50, and 100 yards. For her efforts she won a Lyman Mustang Breakaway 50-cal black powder rifle,a $500 retail value. The camper who does the best during the hunting skills "walk-through" portion of the camp also receives a prize. Brown learned she had scored highest on the walk through and was awarded a $900 Trijicon 3x9 rifle scope for her efforts.

More than prizes, Brown commented that she came away with many new friends for life from all over the country A skilled rifle shooter already, she gained a new found interest and skill in other disciplines such as pistol and muzzle loader.

The camp provides not only instruction in shooting, it provides each of the campers,age 13-17, an opportunity to grow and mature. Brown commented that she hopes to go back soon as a counselor in training and a future counselor. For more information on the NRA Adventure camp visit their website at Founded in 1973, the NRA Whittington Center hosts many competitive, educational and recreational activities in all shooting disciplines. The NRA Whittington Center is one of the most complete shooting centers in the nation. The center includes 33,000 acres of rugged western terrain, 10 miles southwest of Raton, all in the scenic high mesa country of New Mexico. They have ranges for shooters of all types, from rifle, pistol, shotgun, and more at distances up to 1000 yards.

Since 1986, each summer, the NRA Whittington Center holds two 2-week Adventure Camp sessions, hosting 56 teens per session for an experience they'll never forget. Each session could include up to 56 campers. Brown's group had 10 girls and 42 boys.