What is the Home Firearms Safety Class? Why do we have to attend it? Are there any substitutions?
The Home Firearms Safety Class is a free two-hour lecture style class led by club volunteers. The class teaches safe gun handling, range rules and etiquette, 4-H shooting sports opportunities, as well as a lot of other useful information. Each child who wants to participate in club practices and at least one parent or guardian must attend this class before they will be allowed to participate in practices. Attendance is required by Montgomery County 4-H. There are no substitutions for attending this class. Attending a Hunters Education class, completing another basic firearms class, a parent being in the military or law enforcement, or a parent being an NRA instructor do not substitute for attending this class. Note: This class is only offered a few times a year. If you want your child to participate in club practices, you should make it a priority to attend this class as early in the year as possible. Once classes are over for the year, you will have to wait until the next year if you miss it. Contact information to RSVP for a class is listed on the club website.
What is the club’s focus? What do you teach?
We are dedicated to teaching the safe and responsible use of firearms. This includes sound decision making, self-discipline, and concentration. We also seek to have fun and develop life skills through a strong youth development approach. Our club focus is on basic marksmanship and teaching the fundamentals of shooting. We teach competitive shooting stances in both our rifle and pistol projects, which is not what you see when you go to a public gun range. We do not teach self-defense techniques.
What projects does the club offer?
Our club has active projects in archery, BB gun, air pistol, air rifle, smallbore rifle and smallbore pistol. We have the equipment to have a black powder project, but at this time we do not have a 4-H certified coach to hold practices. We do NOT have a shotgun project. If your child is interested in shotgun, you will need to contact the Montgomery County 4-H Shotgun Team. Other projects can be added as members indicate interest and leaders are available. Members can also complete projects at home or through another club.
When does the club meet? What are 4-H club meetings?
Our club’s regular monthly meeting is usually held on the first Thursday of each month, September through May. Meeting details are posted on both the public and member website.
Attending the monthly meeting is an essential part of being involved in a 4-H club. They can be involved in the club’s decision-making process, learn something from an educational presentation, play games, and participate in community service projects at the monthly meetings. Updates on club projects and events are given to help keep families informed. The meetings also give your family an opportunity to support our members who have undertaken a student leadership role. They put a lot of extra hours into planning things for club members to do and it is rewarding to have members participate so they can experience success and grow as leaders.
We encourage all who are interested in the club to visit us to see if the club would be a good fit for your family. Attending the Safety Training class beforehand is not necessary to attend a club meeting.
Can my child participate in multiple projects?
Members may participate in as many projects as they’d like. Many members will try out all the projects to see which ones they are really interested in. Members can attend as many practices as their parents are willing to take them to. The club does not require that a member attend a certain number of practices during the year. The amount your family participates is completely up to you.
When and where are practices held?
Most practices are held once a week on a weekday evening in and around the Conroe area. We do not release practice days or locations to the public due to safety concerns. Smallbore practices are usually held once or twice a month at an outdoor range which is donated for our club members’ use, so we do not have to pay range fees. Once a family has completed the 4-H registration process, they are given access to the club member website which has the practice and event calendar on it. This is where you will sign up for practices.
What if the practice schedule doesn’t work for my family’s schedule?
Practices are scheduled by our coaches based on their availability to volunteer their time and when they believe the most families will be available to attend. In some cases, we are constrained by the availability of a facility. Our club has many offerings, it is our hope that your family will be able to find at least one option that will work for you.
Can I drop off my child at practices/meetings?
No. Even if your child is old enough to drive, they must have a parent or guardian physically at the practice. Adult siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or a trusted friend can bring a member to practice, with a parent’s permission.
Who are the coaches?
Most coaches are parents of club members and have been involved with the club multiple years. All coaches are unpaid volunteers. They are NOT county employees. Club practices are led by Certified 4-H Shooting Sports Coaches who have been to a 4-H Shooting Sports Coach Certification Class for the discipline they are coaching and have met the requirements to become a 4-H Certified Coach. Many of our coaches have also invested their time, energy, and money in additional training in their discipline to enhance our members’ experiences.
Do I need to have my own gun/bow/equipment to participate?
The club has equipment for club members to borrow so it is not necessary to have your own gun or bow in order to participate. This prevents your family from having to purchase a lot of equipment while your child discovers what area they are interested in. A member can indicate what club equipment needs to be borrowed during the practice sign up process on the website.
My child is only interested in participating in the smallbore (.22) rifle/pistol or air rifle/pistol project. Why will he or she be required to first attend BB gun practices?
New members interested in these projects are required to attend a minimum of three BB gun practices for safety reasons. This allows the coach to make sure the safety rules taught in the home firearms safety class are understood and are being applied by the member. This also gives the member a chance to learn how a range is run by us and for our coaches to get to know them.
Once the coach determines that the member consistently demonstrates safe behavior, can safely handle the air gun or smallbore gun they want to use, and that they demonstrate the maturity level necessary for the project they are interested in, the member will be given permission to begin attending those practices. The number of BB gun practices needed to accomplish this goal is at the coach’s discretion, with the minimum being three.
Currently, as there is only one coach holding practices, prospective members should be aware that it is much easier to complete this requirement in the Fall, as more practices are offered with more firing points available during the regular BB gun season, which is September through December. The regular BB gun season focuses on safe gun handling and building the foundations of marksmanship. The extended season focuses on building on the foundation of the regular season while preparing project members for competition in the Spring and runs from January through mid-March. Practices with limited firing points are offered during this season to allow the coach to hone and polish competitive positions and marksmanship skills and teach competition format. After that time, practices are only available to Travel Team members preparing to attend BB Gun Nationals in the summer. As more parents are willing to step into the coaching role, more BB gun practices may be added to the calendar to allow more members to be accommodated through the Spring.
How old does my child need to be to join?
4-H is for youth between the ages of 9 and 18 years old (or 8 years old AND in in 3rd grade).
How do I join?
· Join Texas 4-H through 4HConnect website. Annual enrollment opens on August 15th each year.
· Attend a Home Firearms Safety Class. (See Below)
· Join Montgomery County 4-H Shooting Sports Club. This is only done through the club website.
· Pay the club dues. The fee you pay on 4HConnect does not come to the club. Club dues cover repair and maintenance of club equipment and help to purchase consumables (ammunition, targets, etc.) used in practices by members.
· Request Access to the member’s website.
Links for each of these steps can be found on the club website. Steps can be completed in any order, but member’s website access is not granted until all steps have been completed.
I think I’ve completed all the steps to join, but I haven’t heard anything from the club. What do I do?
The simple answer is to check your e-mail. It can take from a few days up to a couple of weeks for all steps to be completed. Once your Texas 4-H membership is active, you will receive an e-mail. Club leadership grants access to the member’s website twice a week for families who have completed the registration process. If there is a delay completing one or more of the steps, the club manager will typically reach out to you through an e-mail within a couple of weeks to let you know which steps still need to be completed and to see if you have questions about the registration process. Contact information can be found at the bottom of the club’s webpage if you have other questions. Once you are granted access to the member’s website, you will receive an e-mail telling you that you should be able to log in. The is where you can view the practice calendar and sign up for those your child would like to attend. Coach contact information is listed for each practice and you may contact the coach directly with specific questions regarding the practices.
Does my child have to compete? When and where are competitions?
Attending competitions is not mandatory, but our club encourages members to try it. Allowing your child to compete can help add focus to their practice time. Whether or not your family wants to be competitive will depend upon your goals for your child in shooting sports. Competitions are held in many different locations throughout the year. March through May seems to be the busiest time. Some matches are local, others are several hours away, and some are out of state.
Do I have to volunteer? What are my options for volunteering?
We do not require a parent to volunteer in order for their child to be a member of this club. However, we do offer a portion of the membership dues back to a parent who completes 5 hours of service to the club to encourage parents to become actively involved in the club. Time commitment can vary greatly from an hour once in awhile, to volunteering for a one time event, to volunteering as a coach who holds practices each week. There are many ways parents can find to volunteer that do not involve shooting sports. We can often use help in planning and leading non-shooting sports events or activities, helping with fundraisers, maintenance on club equipment, and other projects that come up during the year.