Indiana Youth Shooting Sports Foundation (IYSSF) is a Not-For-Profit corporation established to introduce and support New Shooters in the various disciplines of Shooting Sports in Indiana. Particular focus is on youth shooting sports. Support is provided to qualifying organizations/agencies in the form of monetary grants for specific programs and/or projects.
The IYSSF Board of Directors consists of officers and Dirctors of the Indiana State Rifle and Pistol Association as well as other Community Leaders active in the Shooting Sports.
As we all know, finances and the expense of shooting are a barrier of entry to our sport, especially for young people. Traditionally, a youth shooter would have to have been sponsored by an adult to shoot even on an occasional basis let alone become proficient and become a competitor or even an avid shooter. The result of this is that it is quite rare especially in the shotgun sports to see young people out on a sporting clays course or trap field.
The implications of this are ominous for our sport and our right to keep and bear arms. As the diehard baby boomer shooters and their parents give way to the X and Y generation, the number of gun enthusiasts and sportsmen seem to be lagging in the effort of handing off the trustee-ship of our sport.
Because of these concerns, I became involved as a 4H shotgun sports leader. This led to becoming an NRA certified shotgun instructor, a Hunter Ed instructor, and a Crossroads Council BSA merit badge councilor. During these endeavors, I often saw fellow volunteers, to their credit, paying for rounds of shooting and shells for kids in the program out of their own pocket.
The thought occurred to me one day that if someone came out of the woodwork and said, “I want to make a substantial donation to support youth shooting in Indiana” they would not have anywhere to go. This motivated me to found the Indiana Youth Shooting Sports Foundation. I went to my attorney and funded the work and effort to start my own 501(C) 3 foundation. This was very time and money consuming, but we got it done about six years ago.
Since then, we have been very limited, spending just a few thousand dollars on equipment like shells for sub-juniors and juniors shooters at the Indiana Sporting Clays Association State Shoot. Other things have been paying for targets for a day at the range for a Voyager Scout crew at Crooked Creek gun club. Also, we have subsidized some 4H shooting expenses.
So during the last six years, I have paid to maintain the foundation filing taxes etc. I was about to collapse the thing and close when one day I get THE PHONE CALL. Enter John Crone, Bill Jordan and the ISRPA. John knows about IYSSF and figures he would match us up with ISRPA because he knows that Bill was talking to a potentially large donor but they would only donate to a 501(C) 3 organization. Also, he would only donate to a NRA affiliate entity. ISRPA is not a 501(c) 3. At this point John asked if IYSSF would be willing to become associated with the ISRPA, and together we could qualify for a potential donation.
Long story short, I went to the ISRPA annual meeting, liked what I saw and said yes. As President of the IYSSF, I worked with my attorney to amend the bylaws to achieve the goals of the donor. Then Dennis Reynolds and I had a board meeting of the existing IYSSF. We voted in the Executive Board of the ISRPA onto the board of the IYSSF along with six other shooters to make a total of 13 board members. This was also done to satisfy the donor who wanted additional board members to guide the foundation.
Then enter Jerry Wehner. The potential donor was going to be at the annual NRA convention in Charlotte. Jerry was already going, so I flew down, met with Jerry and we met with the individual who runs their foundation and the donor himself. We had prepared a presentation for them about some of our proposals, and we talked for about an hour. Upon arriving home, Jerry and I worked with two Boy Scout councils gathering written proposals from them as to how they wanted to improve their shooting programs and expand it to include more new shooters, which is the donor’s primary goal. We also traveled to their camps to survey their needs. Since then we have been informed we qualified for a grant and have received funding.
IYSSF has a meeting scheduled January 22nd, to consider these proposals and begin the process of accomplishing our goal of recruiting more new shooters.
We have been feeling our way along in this process because it is new to all of us, and the people who are going to receive the funds. The donor is very numbers oriented, and we are going to be judged by how many new shooters we bring to the sport and how much it costs per shooter. We started with the Scout organizations because they have existing infrastructure and leadership we can expand on in a very efficient manner. There are seven councils in Indiana, and we have proposal from just two so far for this year. In the future if we receive more funding, we may talk to other Scout councils. In addition, we intend to talk to some 4H shooting sports groups; however, we are open to other ideas about how to expand the shooting sports in Indiana. Pictured at Left is 4-H shotgun training.
We have been told there is a chance we can receive additional funding in the future. Some of the things we are going to be graded on is how many new shooters we involve and at what price. Also, we are going to be graded on how much money we raise on our own. To that end, the IYSSF board would like you to consider making a donation or ask other individuals, businesses, or individuals for donations. In a certain sense, every member of the ISRPA is a member and representative of this effort. Anything you can do to help us with this effort would be greatly appreciated.