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Rite of Passage

Introduced in 1988, the Whittington Adventure is now the most comprehensive introductory youth hunting-and-shooting camp nationwide.

"I believe in every one of these kids. They're here to learn to hunt and shoot, to learn about discipline, leadership and life lessons. It doesn't matter what their background is: You show them you're genuine and lead by example because the future of hunting-and all we cherish in America-lies with them." -Bert Goodfallow, Blountsville, Ala., retired U.S. Marine and Whittington Adventure Camp Instructor.

Here lies a hidden treasure, I thought, as I pulled into the entrance of the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M. Its administration building seems small set against a 33,000-acre backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. In fact it is small, which belies the journey that awaits kids who come here to participate in NRA Whittington Adventure Camps. It was June 26, 2007-my birthday-and I felt fortunate to be present, to know I would spend the next 12 days among a small gathering of the next generation of hunters who will soon take their place alongside us in fields and woodlots across America.

The Whittington Adventure (WA) was introduced in 1988 to develop outdoor skills in youths aged 13-17. Today it is the most comprehensive introductory youth hunting-and-shooting camp nationwide. Two 12-day sessions are offered each summer for up to 48 participants each, providing hands-on instruction in rifle, pistol, muzzleloader and shotgun shooting and extensive hunter education.

Glancing at the herd of antelope not 75 yards away, I grabbed my event schedule and joined ahtv cameraman Mike "Tater" Haviland to discuss our event coverage for the week. We met up with camp personnel first, and it didn't take long to realize this program would never happen if it weren't for their dedication.

Camp director Bill Perkins, an NRA-certified firearm instructor, hunter and father of three from Tucson, Ariz., so believes in the program that he's dedicated five weeks of his past six summers to working with campers and a staff of 31 instructors and youth counselors. "I'm involved because the Adventure camps ensure kids attain the knowledge and survival skills needed not just to enjoy a lifetime of hunting," he said, "but attain the building blocks to lead a life of endless accomplishment. This realization is my greatest reward." ...

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1 Response to Rite of Passage

W.T.McCORMICK SR. wrote:
September 25, 2010

sounds great! every kid in our great Nation would benefit from this exposure & disipline!!!My great grandson will attend when he reaches 13...BET ON IT!!!!