RMEF Grant, Volunteers Help Illinois Trap Team Shine
By Cheri Harden, Sangamon Valley Chapter
Back in the early 2000s, Jim Ketchum and Walt Goodman had a dream to start a youth trap team in their area, so they created the Edgewood Scholastic Trap Team. Today, athletes representing 13 communities based around Auburn, Illinois, participate in the program. RMEF has provided a state grant to help with competition fees for the past two years.
Our team was established under the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation, a national program that provides youths with a positive sports experience and instills a set of personal values and character traits based on fair play, compassionate understanding, responsibility, sportsmanship, self-discipline and personal commitment—qualities that not only help each athlete reach their full potential, but also serve them well throughout their lives.
Our family first became involved with the Edgewood Trap Team—and RMEF—back in 2009. We had recently moved to Illinois from Cheyenne, Wyoming, where we had attended many RMEF banquets. We had so much fun at those events that our entire family decided to join the local RMEF Sangamon Valley Chapter committee in Springfield. There we met chapter chair Jay Cook and merchandise chair Adam Walsh who, after learning that my husband John and I coached the trap team, recruited their sons Eli and Davis, respectively, to join our children, Clay and Chelby, on the team.
Competition is indeed part of the youth trap program, but it is not the underlying principle. Team members learn the safe and responsible handling and use of firearms, discover the joys of contributing to a shared team goal, and develop the sportsmanship, responsibility and commitment that goes along with it. The best part is that shooting sports offer an absolutely level playing field no matter the age, gender or athletic ability.
This past July we sent 17 shooters to the 2014 SCTP National Team Championships at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, Illinois. Our Varsity I squad took 4th place out of 107 squads from across the nation. While that’s impressive, and we are very proud of those kids, the most important thing is that everyone on the team developed proficiency in a sport that can be shared and enjoyed with family and friends for a lifetime.