By Josh Beavers
People don’t agree on much of anything anymore. Whether it be politics or religion, the role of government in our lives or what we should and should not teach in our schools, opinions are many and varied and staunchly defended. No agreement. Anywhere. Except, perhaps, when it comes to what we want for our children.
We want to make the world a better place for our kids. We want them to be safe and for them to have a better life than what we do. That’s the mark of a good parent. That’s the mark of a good teacher. That’s the mark of a good child advocate.
Danny Puckett is one such parent, teacher, and child advocate.
When Danny was nominated for this series, his anonymous nominator said: “He is so involved with the kids 4-H shooting competitions. He’s a great volunteer and kind kids advocate. He goes out of his way to make a difference in those kids’ lives.”
Puckett said the focus of all 4-H programs is the development of youth as individuals and as responsible and productive citizens.
“4-H shooting sports is a program that gets kids and families outside learning primarily firearms safety, hunting skills, teamwork, leadership, accountability, and responsibility just to name a few,” he said.
He continued: “The program has the potential to teach a host of things. Safe gun handling being the most important, as well as leadership skills, teamwork skills, hunting knowledge, wildlife ID, reliability, self-confidence, time management, just to name some of the life skills we share.”
Danny is married and has three sons. They share his love of the outdoors, and he said his job allows him the freedom to spend time out in God’s wonder with his family as well as with those who participate in shooting sports.
He said: “I got involved when my kids joined and I realized it was a good program with not enough staff to make it great, so I signed up. I have been involved since 2011.”
When asked what he enjoys most about shooting sports, he said, “That smile on a kids face or tears of joy when they do something they never thought they could do. That’s why I do this. The bonds we share seem to grow with time spent together. My shooters are like my kids.”
Local 4-H Shooting Sports clubs are open to all youth ages 8 to 18. Each year, 4-H teaches a shooting sport to about 500,000 boys and girls each year. Shooting sports can be gratifying for youngsters, especially those who aren’t athletes. The program provides a supportive environment in which young people can experience hands-on, fun learning experiences.
“If you have not seen a 4-H shooting event take place, I challenge you to come see one,” he said. “It will get your head right and you will want to be involved and have your kids involved.”
Volunteers are needed to coordinate county programs and to work at the local level. Individuals who are interested in shooting sports and are willing to learn about them can become involved in an existing program or club. If none exists, they can work with 4-H youth staff to help establish a program.
All instructors are trained by state instructors certified to teach courses. Adult volunteers receive training in shooting sports at state and regional workshops to become qualified instructors. 4-H teen leaders may wish to assist with instruction. Shooting sports leaders act as role models and must impart the 4-H philosophy and youth development objectives to 4-H members.
One such role model is Mr. Danny Puckett.
(“For the Kids” is a series of regular feature stories published in the Webster Parish Journal. If you have a recommendation of someone who needs to be recognized for their work with our local school children, please reach out to Josh Beavers either through Facebook or email at email@example.com.)
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