Shooting sports has the strictest regulations of any Illinois 4-H project. Governed by the national 4-H Shooting Sports program and the University of Illinois, volunteers working with the program must complete a weekend certification before being accepted as an instructor. Certainly, safety is the top priority. We need adults who will follow the regulations of the program exactly to ensure that youth learn the responsible handling of firearms while under constant supervision of a trained instructor. But, shooting is only part of the program. Shooting is simply the subject matter that we use to do what 4-H does so well, and that is prepare and empower young people with the skills they need to be successful in life. After the training, our 4-H volunteers understand their role in mentoring youth to become self-directed, confident members of their community. Yes, you'll also teach the fundamentals of safe shooting, but your bigger role will be helping youth feel welcomed, empowered, and successful; generous in spirit; and thoughtful of their fellow club members and the communities where they live.
Registration is handled through your local Extension office. If interested, begin the process at your local office. CLICK HERE to find the office in your county.
- Administration: follow state plan, policies, and risk management requirements. Complete reports and maintain 4-H membership records and maintain equipment inventories.
- Communications: develop good working relationships with members, parents, instructors, volunteers and Extension professional staff.
- Planning: work with other instructors, Extension staff, parents, members and community partners to develop a county shooting sports short-term and long-term plan to create the best possible program for your county. This includes setting up a 4-H Shooting Sports Committee that seeks to grow the program.
- Volunteer Development: Recruit, orientate, and recognize instructors and other adult and teen volunteers (on-going).
- Resource Development: Develop resources such as cash, equipment and use of facilities and keep financial and asset records in accordance with Illinois 4-H policy.
- Promotion: Promote the 4-H Shooting Sports program to youth, families and the community through various ways.
- Organize: Plan/schedule supplemental learning experiences-tours, special events, service projects, etc.
- Relationship Building: Liaison with the Extension Service and county 4-H committee.
- Risk Management: Ensure quality control of county program by monitoring club Shooting Sports activities.
- Age 21 or older and successful completion of 4-H Leadership application and screening processes.
- Ability to work with adults and delegate responsibility.
- Have an interest in the development of youth and shooting sports.
- State certification and recertified as required.
- Previous leadership experience.
- Organizational, management, communication, public relations and marketing skills.
- Knowledge of networking and collaborating.
- Knowledge of overall 4-H program and activities and/or willing to learn about them.
- Moral standards consistent with the 4-H philosophy.
- Illinois 4-H Shooting Sports coordinator training workshop.
- Illinois 4-H Shooting Sports curriculum handbook upon completion of the workshop.
- Local volunteer training programs.
One volunteer serves as Coordinator for the 4-H Club. They are responsible for the overall coordination and management of the 4-H shooting sports program. Each discipline - Archery, Shotgun, Rifle, Pistol, and Hunting and Outdoor Skills - also needs a certified instructor before that discipline can be offered in the county. When all of those pieces are in place, counties can begin enrolling youth in the 4-H Shooting Sports project.
Volunteer Screening Process
4-H Shooting Sports Clubs are led by adult volunteer leaders who go through rigorous screenings and certification before they join the program. Each volunteer is checked through the Illinois State Police database, as well as the Department of Children and Family Services CANTS database. Then, volunteers must attend an 18-hour weekend training specific to the area of the program they will be working.