Every child should make new friends, experience new places and people, and see things that put them out of their element enough to teach them about the world we live in. Most kids learn some of the world around them by interacting with their peers in sports and school.
They also meet adults, see new faces and places. But there’s a sport that will not only introduce them to new people nearby, but new people all over the country and world. That sport is shooting. Since 2012, our boys have seen most corners of the US, as well as Italy and Russia. They’ve seen America first-hand. Not from geography books, but with their own eyes.
Cotton fields, ocean creatures, sand in their toes and snow under skis – they’ve seen a lot! The top of the continental divide on snow, midnight runs in a medieval city in Urbino, Italy, to Russian White Nights in St Petersburg, to a sea fortress in Finland . Shooting has shown them sights beyond their sights!
A lot of people have some preconceived ideas about all our travel – they think we must have a lot of money…I’m writing blogs to help pay my bills, so guess again! But what we are capable of is spending time with our kids and the people we meet. We eat a lot of cheap meals, spending our money on gas and ammo. But the things we’ve been able to take in are much more memorable than a fancy dinner or soft hotel bed. Home is where you lay your head. Kids should learn that some nights, that can be the car so you can open your eyes and see the ocean or snorkel in the Florida Keys. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, but you have to invest deeply in being open to the experience and taking each day as it comes.
Teaching kids about different parts of our country and the world in conjunction with a sport is a unique way to approach the everyday activities some do just to “keep busy.” Kids are enrolled in swim teams, little league, soccer and gymnastics – our boys tried those, but we saw a lot of time at those events wasn’t time together. Shooting sports offer opportunities beyond social networking or finding friends with common interests – they offer chances to see your country and the world, and that’s a benefit not many sports offer until you perform at the pinnacle, as a pro-athlete would. Shooting is a lot more inclusive and opens a lot of doors people don’t even know exist.
So when your friends are packing for their soccer or little league practice, and you’re packing to go to the range, don’t feel like you’re the odd family – you’re taking the road less travelled, and that is something that will yield experiences all the different for your children.