by Cynthia Cook, WWCCA Women’s Sport Shooting Member
Western Wayne County Conservation Association in Michigan has received NRA Foundation grants of ammunition, safety equipment and targets used for Women’s Sport Shooting shotgun and handgun programs. The programs help support women in continuing their training and encourage new shooters to gain the necessary training to handle a firearm with confidence. One participant shares her personal story about the impact of this firearms training on her life.
Several years ago, I’d never have pictured myself with a firearm. Now, I frequently find myself wishing I’d gotten involved long ago. Today, I simply wish I had more time at “the club.” I enjoy the sport so much—I can’t wait for what’s next.
I consider myself incredibly lucky, because it was pretty much through a chance encounter that I wound up at Western Wayne County Conservation Association (WWCCA), a club with an amazing women’s sport shooting program and incredibly supportive membership.
Cindy, left, practicing her shotgun shooting with fellow WWCCA member Kathy Borucki
First impressions are everything, and, as a beginner, the encouragement and support I received—along with expert instruction—made the difference between simply owning a handgun “just in case” and becoming a safe, confident and skilled gun owner.
One-on-one training sessions with Dianne, WWCCA Women’s Sport Shooting chairman, converted my initial fear and hesitation to enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. She is clearly devoted to breaking down barriers that prevent many women from developing their shooting skills and is committed to promoting opportunities for them to participate, learn and grow.
Since joining WWCCA in late 2015, my perspective on firearm ownership has grown well beyond simply having that gun at home as a precaution to one of appreciation and respect. My father was a very skilled trap shooter and handgun marksman when I was younger, but I never saw him shoot before he passed away—and he never saw me. I think he would be proud.
Cindy, second from right, with other members of the WWCCA Women's Shotgun Team
The training and certification programs offered through our club—including NRA Personal Protection, Civilian Marksmanship Program, handgun maintenance class, etc.—have been incredibly valuable toward developing my knowledge, skills and attitude.
Membership at WWCCA has exposed me to many varied opportunities, and, not surprisingly, I’ve taken advantage of regular training, leagues, special outings and competition offerings. I’ve really enjoyed the programming specific to women and recognize this element as a crucial gateway for many. Our women’s group is very cohesive. We enjoy learning and participating together on all levels and always try to support and encourage one another.
At this point, it would be just plain wrong not to mention the wonderful men—DRSO’s, NRA Instructors and other accomplished club members—who support women’s shooting on both informal and official levels. I think sometimes women in a shooting environment are intimidated by men, but at our club we seem to have an abundance of men that are happy to help us in any and every way.
As I look back over the past couple of years, I can’t help but be amazed at how much I’ve grown—not as a female shooter, but as a shooter. Honestly, I think my training and other experiences through WWCCA have meant more than just improving my gun-related knowledge and skills. They have developed my sense of confidence outside of the range as well and, without doubt, have truly enriched my life.
In this busy and stressful life, there are always other things in the back of my mind, no matter where I am or how much fun I should be having. But I’ve found that my time spent shooting is the only thing that completely disengages me from everything else. I don’t see ever giving this up.
Learn more about The NRA Foundation grant program and how to apply for funding for your shooting sports organization. Find a Friends of NRA event near you at friendsofnra.org/Events and attend to help fundraise in support of these programs!
Photos courtesy/WWCCA Women's Sport Shooting
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