Wednesday, August 8, 2007


I have a young shotgunner friend named Nate. About a year ago, I suggested to Nate's parents that he be enrolled in 4-H shooting sports. At that time, he had no shotgun, but was very interested. I mentioned Nate and the lack of a suitable shotgun to a couple of mutual friends, and one of them loaned Nate a gun. Nate joined our local 4-H club. He took a lesson from one of the local range pros, and fell in love with shotgun sports.

This young man of 10 has been mowing lawns and doing yard work all summer in order to save up to buy a gun. One day, his father called me, and asked if they could come see me. We set up a time, and father and son came by my office.

When I get a call like that, it’s usually a plea for sponsorship. Not so this time.

Nate just wanted to personally thank me for encouraging him towards shooting sports.

He. Is. Ten. Years. Old.

I have watched this young man bloom, in a matter of months, from a shy young boy to a more confident, look you in the eye, not be afraid to ask you questions young boy. And Nate is a young man well able to take instruction. At the recent 4-H fundraiser shoot, though one of the youngest shooters there, he went to the stage with the older teenagers to help distribute awards. Not one moment’s hesitation did I see. All the rest of the kids his age were chunking rocks and playing by this time of the day. Nate just went up there and got busy. Another benefit I see is that Nate and his dad are getting to spend some really valuable time together, sometimes with the rest of the family, and sometimes just the two of them. They’re all having a blast!

I called Nate yesterday to ask a favor. We needed to 3-hole punch a huge mass of card stock scorecards in order to get ready for this weekend’s shoot. I've been very busy and it would help me out.

His reply? "Sure!" He came up, and went straight to work, getting the chore done in record time.

Though Nate nor his parents asked, after that first visit Nate and his daddy made to my office, MLH & I did sponsor Nate. And with the sponsor money, given with the restriction that it be used for shooting supplies and entry fees, he and his father opened Nate his own checking account. Nate added his earnings from the yard work. His parents are smart – they are teaching this young man money skills at the same time they are letting him participate in the shooting sports. And he’s having a great time, meeting some great people, and realizing the value of money.

Nate’s turning in to quite a little shooter, too.

I’m excited for Nate.


Panhandle Poet said...

Great story and great testimony of the power of taking interest in a young person's life. Thanks!

Karen said...

This is a great story, Janie. This kiddo will go far!

Janie said...

Nate is a special kid, and I think he will go far.

Thanks for your comments!

Rach said...

You are one great lady and he sounds like an awesome kid!

Janie said...

Awww, shucks, Rachel....he is a great kid, though!!