SSSF and Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever Partner to Introduce Youth to Shooting Sports and Conservation
The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF) and Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever (PF/QF) have signed an agreement to partner on programs to introduce youth to shooting sports, hunting, wildlife conservation, and other outdoor experiences. SSSF and PF/QF will work together to develop new outreach programs, promote each other’s missions, and host joint introductions to shooting/outdoor events.
The partnership focuses on strengthening the link between shooting and conservation, as SSSF and PF/QF will work together to educate and engage today’s youth to ensure a future of avid hunters and passionate conservationists.
Both organizations recognize that today’s youth are the next generation of outdoor leaders and conservationists. “Youth are making dedicated sport choices at a very young age these days,” explained Ben Berka, President and Executive Director of SSSF. “If we can make that choice a shooting sport, we can begin to influence the future of recreational choices for kids and families.
“By operating through the proven model of organized youth sports, SSSF has the ability to recruit many urban and suburban youth who have very little awareness about wildlife conservation or the outdoors in general,” Berka continued. “Also, youth shooting sports have structure, social interaction, and trusted adult leadership — things that are attractive to busy families.”
The memorandum of understanding between the two organizations came about through the efforts of Tom Wondrash, National Director of the SSSF’s Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) and John Linquist, National Shooting Sports Coordinator for PF/QF, who recognized the compatible goals of the two groups. Initially, the two men partnered informally by pairing SCTP teams with local PF/QF chapters. Later, SCTP teams were the catalysts for forming new PF/QF chapters in areas where there were none.
“Our mission is to get youth involved in shooting sports at an early age through team competition and to encourage their continued involvement when they graduate from our program,” said Wondrash. “Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever is an ideal partner to further our members’ interest and participation in the shooting sports as they reach adulthood, as well as enjoy these activities with their entire family.”
For PF/QF, promoting shooting sports is an important aspect of the No Child Left Indoors® initiative, which includes the FOREVER Shooting Sports Program. “We look at this partnership as a way to groom future leaders who care about the legacy we are leaving and who will pass on our love for the outdoors. In turn, that connection to the land through hunting will foster a conservation ethic,” added PF/QF’s Linquist. “We look forward to expanding participation at youth events nationally through this partnership.”
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 745 local chapters across the United States and Canada. For more information about becoming involved with Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, contact John Linquist at 712-754-3221, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit pheasantsforever.org.