Colo. Middle Schoolers Get Gun Training, Attend Appleseed Event

Send to Kindle

colorado middle school appleseed

A group of Colorado middle schoolers was given what is becoming a rare opportunity to handle and fire guns as part of a classroom-taught gun safety program with help from the NRA and Project Appleseed. As part of the program, the students were also given a history lesson on firearms in the U.S. and why we have them.

“We’re teaching them about the firearms so they are familiar with them, they can be safe with them,” said the program’s coordinator Jim Heath to KOAA news. “I think that it’s better for them to have a respect for it [and] know how to handle it,” Heath said. “Not that they should, but that they are aware about the firearm. It’s not, ‘Oh, what’s this? What can we do with this?'”

The firearms safety program was held at Craver Middle School in Colorado City, Colo.

Heath is a Project Appleseed volunteer and state-level event coordinator. An outgrowth of the Revolutionary War Veteran’s Association, Project Appleseed teaches shooters of all ages traditional marksmanship through multiple-day workshops across the country. The middle schoolers were given a day in firearms history and safety instruction then treated to a two-day shooting event.

“We are teaching them how to hold and aim the rifle, how to fire a shot correctly, how to be safe in their handling and how to think about what they’re doing so they can tell they’re doing it right and know they’re being safe,” said Appleseed instructor Pete Lessler to KOAA at the shoot. Lessler stressed that above all Appleseed is focused on safety.

Many students were excited about the program, although not all were new to shooting. “I feel OK, because I’ve been shooting a lot when I was younger with my parents,” said 8th-grader Courtney Proctor.

“I think it’s pretty cool, it’s something that you don’t get to see everyday. It’s something that you just get to come in and say ‘Wow, look at all these just nice, awesome firearms,'” said 7th-grader Tristin Baker. “You should never be afraid of a gun, never, ever.”

“You should have confidence around the guns, you should say, ‘this is a gun, we’ve gotta be careful with them,'” said Baker, adding “It’s kind of hard but pretty easy as long as you know what you’re doing.”

Several parents attended the Appleseed event to watch their kids shoot. “It is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity for a lot of kids,” said one mom, Brandi McKinney. “I’m actually very excited, we are new to the area so this is kind of new but our son is very, very interested and I’m actually very encouraged that the school has decided to teach these kids how to do this type of stuff.”

McKinney admitted that she was a little apprehensive about the event, but knew that it was essential for kids to learn gun handling and safety, saying “Knowledge is important, and for the kids to be able to learn how to properly deal with them is definitely important.”

Of course, you don’t have to be a kid attending Craver Middle School to attend an Appleseed event on your own. For more information about the program and its history visit the Project Appleseed website and see if they have an upcoming shoot near you.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • 2B or not 2B 2A March 26, 2016, 7:09 am

    I read were a “proffesor” said he will call the police on Cadets at his school everytime he see’s them practicing/marching. I worked for an Engineering Firm in TX which specialized in K-12 schools. Some of these schools constructed indoor ranges for the ROTC, BB guns were provided for the young Cadets and yet some parents still protested this activity. I fear the kids are coddled beyond the point of realization.
    Shows the wide range of viewpoints on firearms these days. Great job Project Appleseed.
    2A all the way!!!!

  • Bearstorm March 25, 2016, 7:03 pm

    I’ve been a firearms instructor for some were about 26 or 27 years. Taught about 20 to 30 kids each class most years spring and fall. I though Colorado had a firearms safety mandate, you had to have the class or you couldn’t hunt. Minnesota has had this since, sometime in the early 50s. What I’m trying say is what the Appleseed has done is outstanding, but isn’t enough.
    I wish I had an answer to help them and other organizations to teach young boys and girls, the use and responsibilities of gun use.
    Teach them that a gun is four things, there is no other object that I can think of that has this kind of value.
    1. A gun will defend you. 2. Will put food on your table. 3. A gun is an investment. 4. A gun is an object of art.
    If youngsters learn at least this, we as people that value our rights may be able to lead by example.

  • R March 25, 2016, 12:46 pm

    This is not so unusual out west. Growing up in South Dakota, when we were 12 we could take Firearms Safety Course. It was taught by my dad and another local businessman/hunter. We were told to bring our guns to school with us the day of the course, and it was taught at the end of the school day. So…about 20 of us (repeated each year) would carry our rifles into school the day of the course. Nobody had any idea or thoughts that these guns would be used to harm people. That was not the purpose of the guns. Today that could never happen, but there are still places where the attitudes about guns and their purpose are different from the assumptions of the progressive elites out east.

    By the way, where me and my siblings were 6 years old, my dad took each of us out to learn how to shoot. That was also the age he introduced my children to firearms. Part of the problem these days is kids growing up not understanding guns, their proper use, and their purpose.

  • R March 25, 2016, 12:45 pm

    This is not so unusual out west. Growing up in South Dakota, when we were 12 we could take Firearms Safety Course. It was taught by my dad and another local businessman/hunter. We were told to bring our guns to school with us the day of the course, and it was taught at the end of the school day. So…about 20 of us (repeated each year) would carry our rifles into school the day of the course. Nobody had any idea or thoughts that these guns would be used to harm people. That was not the purpose of the guns. Today that could never happen, but there are still places where the attitudes about guns and their purpose are different from the assumptions of the progressive elites out east.

    By the way, where me and my siblings were 6 years old, my dad took each of us out to learn how to shoot. That was also the age he introduced my children to firearms. Part of the problem these days is kids growing up not understanding guns, their proper use, and their purpose.

  • rt66paul March 25, 2016, 11:20 am

    This is awesome. Teaching teens about guns and trying to get them to learn to respect them is a good idea.
    These days, cooking, marriage and family, machine/wood shop, and even autoshop are not taught in many high schools across the country.
    Their reason is that they don’t want to put kids on track for a blue collar job, when they could be so much more. In reality, this
    locks many kids out of jobs. all kids shouldn’t go to college. There is the kid who has worked part time to help his mother and sibs, the kid whose girlfriend is with child, etc. These kids need jobs right out of high school, something where they can work thier way up. Even if you give him free tuition, he has too much on his plate to take advantage of it.

    We are teaching our children less about life and more and more about video games and being a millstone around mom’s neck for the next 10 years while he lives in the basement. Hans on training about tools that you need in life is and great first step towards making America great again.

  • Chris Itin March 25, 2016, 11:09 am

    I applaud this program and what they are doing. It is important that young people get qualified instruction in handling firearms safely. I taught my children at young ages how to handle, shoot, clean, and store firearms. The one thing that I see in the photograph that alarms me is that not all of the shooters appear to be wearing adequate hearing protection. I am 68 years old, and have been shooting/hunting since I was 12. Back in the day, no one thought about hearing protection, and I fired thousands of rounds without the slightest thought that I was doing irreparable damage to my hearing. Now I have severe hearing loss with constant high-pitched ringing in my ears. I just hope that, as we teach these youngsters responsible firearm use, we also teach them proper personal safety, including taking care of their hearing.

  • DRAINO March 23, 2016, 7:53 am

    I can’t express in words how great this is!! AWESOME!! I will be checking in to this program. Would love to volunteer! Keep up the great work!!!!!

  • Kim Heath March 19, 2016, 6:15 pm

    We are the Colorado state coordinators for Project Appleseed, which put on this event. We are a nationwide non-profit group that teaches traditional rifle marksmanship skills, but mainly we teach about our shared American heritage through stories of April 19, 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord, the shot heard ‘round the world, and brave individuals that sacrificed to secure our liberties.

    This was our third year at Craver Middle School; the community and parents support this curriculum. The school runs an “intensives” week. The students this year had about 7 choices for their intensive. This class, the most popular, turns away students each year. The parents must opt their child into the class.

    We teach American history and include hands-on activities to engage the students. They heard about the foods of the time and got to make and eat hardtack. They heard about medical care of that time and got to do an “amputation.” They learned of the flags and their symbolism and were able to create their own flags representing what’s important in their lives. They learned that kids were often tasked with the job of making cartridges and were able to make cartridges with wax bullets and coffee grounds (for powder). Some of us wore historic costumes.

    Yes, we did bring guns into the classroom, both historic and modern, which is permitted for educational purposes. No ammo was brought into the room. Gun safety was discussed repeatedly. For a short period of time they were allowed to handle the guns, which were then cased and put away. The student had to ask to see one. The instructors handed the firearm to the student, showing them it was clear and the student had to check it. They had to take it from us and demonstrate that their finger was off the trigger. They were allowed to dry fire after asking permission to do so, all while we stood right over them and the muzzles were in a safe direction. They then handed the firearm back to us and we opened the action and confirmed together that it was clear before laying it back on the table. They were taught that they should never handle a firearm unless an adult demonstrates it is clear before handing it to them and that the muzzle always stays in a safe direction, even if unloaded.

    At the range, the safety rules were discussed over and over. You would have been proud to see how these kids took to those rules. We had a large number of instructors and volunteers on top of the kids, almost a 2:1 ratio, and had donations of ammo from the community.

    Please check out Project Appleseed and get your family to an event. It is appropriate for the new shooter and for those that have been shooting 40 years. All will learn new skills. http://appleseedinfo.org/

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend