Shooting program teaches safety
Game Unlimited completed its first year of a youth shooting program and plans to continue the program in hopes of getting kids interested in shooting and teach them firearm safety.
"Just from running Game Unlimited, I've seen over the years that there's just not as much interest at the young level," said Pete Melloy, the creator and director of the youth program.
Melloy said they had about 14 kids, ranging from fifth grade to high school, involved this first year.
"Mostly kids that we have out with us haven't had a lot of experience," Melloy said. "This is their first year so they're all rookies."
Mac Kavaloski, 13, said he had some shooting experience at home, but this was his first time shooting in a more competitive setting with other people.
"I thought it was a good way to spend my time and be productive," Kavaloski said.
Melloy said the goal of the program was to teach participants about firearm safety
"I'm just trying to give the kids an opportunity to get familiar with firearms and know how to use them properly," Melloy said. "Safety, obviously, is always first."
Kavaloski said he learned a lot about safety, being aware of his surroundings and shooting in general.
"I definitely learned how to be a better shooter," he said.
Melloy said he hopes that the skills the kids learn will help them if they decide to go hunting.
"We teach them how to break some targets and then if they want to take that into pheasant hunting or duck hunting, they'll have a little bit more success with it," Melloy said.
The program ran every Monday from April through July 16 and cost participants $15. Melloy said they attempted to try something new each week.
"When we first started we started off really simple with straight away targets or incoming targets, ones they can break and build some confidence," Melloy said. "As we moved on more progressively we challenged them a bit more."
Melloy compared shooting different sporting clay stations to "playing golf with a shotgun."
"Every hole is a different hole, with sporting clays every station is something new," Melloy said.
Kavaloski said his shooting improved throughout the summer and he enjoyed the camaraderie and advice from the leaders and others in the group.
"My favorite part about it was being able to see my improvement every week we did it and being able to get advice from experienced people," Kavaloski said.
Melloy plans to continue the program again next year and make some improvements.
"Next year I'll do things a little bit different so I can get a little more structure and organization," Melloy said.
Melloy said he hopes to get a team together to compete in the youth state championships in Green Bay.
"We weren't able to field a team this year because I kind of just got things going and we haven't been able to get to the competitive side yet," Melloy said.
Between now and April, people are still able to come to Game Unlimited and shoot, and women and children receive a discount.
"Anyone 18 and under and women we give a discounted price," Melloy said. "It's $12 for 50 targets. The standard price is $20."
Game Unlimited is located at 871 County Road E in Hudson.