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To: The L'Anse Sentinel
From: Carole Williams, P.O. Box 98, Pelkie, Mi. 49958 (338-2507) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: June 26, 2001
Re: Letter To The Editor
I had the opportunity to be involved daily with the Junior Shooting Sports Camp 2001, sponsored by the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club on June 11th - 15th. During the past few years I have volunteered to help with many club activities, but this, my first hands-on experience with the Shooting Camp, has become one of my favorites.
Camp Director and Instructor, Ron Granroth, has asked me to write a thank you, on behalf of himself and the Ottawa Sportsmen, to all who helped in any capacity to make the camp enjoyable as well as instructional for this year's group of young adults.
After a great deal of consideration about how to do this, I found it impossible to simply say, "Thanks!" That word cannot convey the appreciation and gratitude felt for the monetary donations as well as donations of ammunition and supplies which were given through the generosity of our area businessmen and friends of the O.S.C. Each of these people will receive a special letter of thanks, but I believe they also should be thanked publicly and individually for their support.
This special thank you is extended to L'Anse Ace Hardware, Indian Country Sports of L'Anse, Northwoods Trading Post of Hancock, Office Max of Houghton, Pettibone/Traverse Lift, LLC of Baraga, Wilkenson's General Store of Baraga, Mark Granroth, Gordon McInnes, world-class biathletes, Karl and Sara Granroth, Erik Niemela and Jerome Niemela. A new friend, Amy, at Homestead Graphics also deserves recognition for putting a rush on the printing for Shooting Camp shirts and caps.
I would also like to take this opportunity to praise the young people who attended the Junior Shooting Camp 2001. I'm sure each of them began with self-doubts about their ability to shoot as well as with self-consciousness about the possibility of failing in front of their peers.
The first day, I heard the words, "I don't think I can." The second day the words had changed to, "I might be able to." And after that, I heard the words, "I did!" Their self-doubts and self-consciousness had turned to self-determination, but this didn't come easily.
Their accomplishments came through a great deal of hard work that involved concentration, dedication, individual discipline, teamwork and attention to safety. Not only did these young people compete against each other, they also competed on a more personal level in order to better their own skills. Their desire to excel was encouraged by support from their peers as well as from their instructors.
I was so impressed with the respect they showed to one another as well as to the adults who worked with them. While they had fun, they also took this Junior Shooting Camp and the goals it presented to them very seriously. Every parent of a son or daughter involved in this Shooting Camp should know that their teenagers deserve praise and that they have earned the right to feel pride in their accomplishments as marksmen and women.
The Junior Shooting Sports Camp 2001 wasn't about making money, about personal glory or about doing something in order to have a good time. It was about caring enough for young people to get them involved in something worthwhile. It was about confidence building and gun safety education. It was about having the satisfaction of having helped some very special young people to learn new skills.
Ron Granroth, who organized and fine-tuned this program, spent countless hours planning, preparing, and attending to every little detail. But, this would have meant nothing without the volunteer efforts of many club members who helped to instruct and keep the 16 young people safe. Those who deserve thanks for giving so freely of their time are Assistant Director and Instructor, Rick Freeman, and Instructors and Range Safety Volunteers, Ron Haka, Warren Huhta, Jim Hulkonen, Gordon McInnes, Paul Peterson, Jim Proctor, and Irving Santti. Three young men, Ben Granroth, Ben Seppala, and Jeff Tuomi, all competitive shooters who will be part of a future team competing at the National Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio, also helped to oversee the safety of this year's "Junior Shooters". Both Ben Granroth and Ben Seppala will be competing this year at the Michigan State Rifle and Pistol Association Junior Team Matches. Helping me with daily lunches for volunteers was Sue Dyke, who kept the hungry crew supplied with desserts.
The ending activities for the Junior Shooting Sports Camp on Friday evening included a family pot luck and barbeque planned and prepared by Brenda Harkonen with Mike Mickus and Irv Santti manning the coals and Donna Granroth helping in the kitchen. Sue Dyke and Patty Santti rolled up their sleeves to help with the kitchen clean-up.
Over 100 people attended on Friday evening to watch the Junior Shooters end their experience at the Shooting Camp by trying out the Trap Range. It was awesome and very gratifiying to watch them raise their shotguns, take aim and knock the clay pigeons out of the air. All the young shooters, average age 14, were awarded Certificates of Achievement by Club President, Russ Weisinger, at the awards ceremony on Family Night.
On behalf of Ron Granroth and the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club, thanks and appreciation are extended to all who helped in any way to make the "Junior Shooting Sports Camp 2001" such a great success.
Carole Williams, O.S.C. Reporter
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