The Youth Shooting Sports Alliance (YSSA) Shooting Sports Equipment Loan Program continues to be a popular resource of firearms, archery equipment and BB guns available for use by youth shooting sports program leaders nationwide. Of the 122 youth programs receiving support from the YSSA this year, 65 programs were loaned a total of 179 rifles, 232 shotguns, 74 pistols, 69 precision match air rifles, 280 Daisy BB guns, 195 Genesis bows and over 2,300 Easton aluminum arrows.
Carson Hecht Comer, Development Director for the Greater Alabama Council, BSA states” The Greater Alabama Council cannot thank the YSSA enough for the loan of the firearms for our use at camp this summer. Every camp season we have thousands of youth and their adult volunteer leaders come through our shooting sports program area and the wear and tear on our guns is very evident after every summer. Unfortunately we have not had the funds to buy new firearms so the lines to shoot at this program area are often very long and intolerable in the summer heat. With the loan of the rifles, pistols and shotguns from YSSA we were able to have over 2,180 youth participate in the shooting sports program at both of our camps.”
The YSSA Shooting Sports Equipment Loan Program was initiated after several years of permanently transferring firearms to youth programs as a means of addressing limiting factors to program growth attributable to equipment and supplies. The YSSA determined that the majority of the firearms needed by these youth programs were for limited or seasonal use. Firearms may be intensively used during the summer months and languish in storage for the remainder of the year. Brand new firearms were not required to address the needs of these groups which are reinforced by the number of youth groups that depended on “loaner” programs to fulfill their needs.
In 2010, the YSSA and the Gander Mountain Company partnered to provide more efficient support of youth shooting sports programs by developing a practical plan to organize and administer an industry-wide firearms loaner program for supporting youth programs. The Gander Mountain store in Kenosha, Wisconsin graciously offered to serve as the repository of the YSSA firearms inventory. The YSSA coordinated the distribution and return of loaned firearms with the staff at Gander Mountain in accordance with the terms of the loan and appropriate state and federal laws. The excellent staff of gunsmiths at this store provided maintenance and secure storage for these firearms through the remainder of the year.
In February of this year, all of the YSSA shooting sports equipment inventory was transferred to a newly-leased facility near Omaha, Nebraska along with the donated equipment used by the YSSA in concert with our auction program conducted in partnership with GunBroker.com. The distribution and storage of this equipment is administered under the policies established by the YSSA Board of Directors to ensure that all firearms are examined and test fired by a competent gunsmith before they are released for use by a youth shooting sports program.
The inventory of firearms available for loan currently includes over 600 rifles, shotguns and pistols. The majority of these firearms were either donated or offered for purchase to the YSSA with significant price concessions by some of the most trusted names in the industry – Savage Arms Inc.; Henry Repeating Arms; O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc.; Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.; Taurus International Mfg., Inc. and Legacy Sports International. In addition, the inventory includes over 100 Hammerli AR20 precision match air rifles.
The YSSA has established an endowment specific to the loaner program so that a continuing revenue stream from interest generated through these investments is available to acquire additional firearms as needed in future years.
This program is a “loan” program and not a “rental” program. The cost of shipping loaned firearms to the user groups are paid by the YSSA. The user youth programs are responsible for the cost of returning the firearms at the conclusion of the loan term.
Because of the popularity of this program with Boy Scout Councils, 4-H state and local shooting sports programs, chapters of several national conservation programs including the Mule Deer Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the National Wild Turkey Federation have also elected to utilize YSSA loaner firearms in conducting their respective youth programs.
Youth programs wishing to take advantage of the YSSA Shooting Sports Equipment Loan Program are welcomed and encouraged to submit a grant application provided on the YSSA website – www.youthshootingsa.com. Applications for the 2015 grant cycle must be received by September 24, 2014 to be considered.
Steve Miller, Executive Director
Logo courtesy Youth Shooting Sports Alliance