Our county fair is under way this week and in a county with a mostly rural population... as far as things to do locally... the county fair ranks right up there with corn festivals and Friday night football games. Our 4H Shooting Sports kids had their judging prior to fair as guns can't even be brought onto the fair grounds, let alone shooting at targets in this liability conscious, politically in-corrected society. Just imagine, a few decades ago you'd find a .22 shooting gallery at most county fairs with pump-action rifles firing .22 shorts.
After my daughter attended the NRA's Youth Education Summit last summer, she and I discussed offering the NRA's Eddie Eagle program for the the 4H Cloverbuds with kids ranging in age from five to seven years. As an NRA appointed training counselor and certified instructor, I believe whole-heartily in the NRA's quality education programs for their targeted audiences and the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety program would work perfectly at the fair grounds, just like it does when I teach it in local schools, as no actual firearms are involved.
We set up in one of the barns and had a dozen kids attend. I was fortunate to have the help of my daughter, our county fair's Shooting Sports Queen this year, along with Molly, the County Junior Fair Queen, and Emma, one of the Junior Fair Board members. The kids had a great time watching the NRA's Eddie Eagle animated cartoon on the projector screen, and the my pretty help lead the youngin's in the "Stop! Don't Touch! Leave the Area! Tell an Adult!" dance just like on the cartoon.
We gave all the kids Eddie Eagle workbooks and crayons to color with, stickers to remind them of the the safety rules for children their age, and aluminum "challenge coins" with the Eddie Eagle mantra imprinted on them. The parents seemed fairly pleased and we gave every parent an NRA Gun Safety brochure, so we may have to look at offering this again at next year's county fair.
You don't have to be an NRA Certified Instructor to offer the Eddie Eagle program. Materials can be purchased through the NRA for minimal cost, which is really nothing if it prevents just one child from being injured or worse. I don't believe that keeping kids in the dark and unexposed to the truth helps, but providing them with good training and instruction that is age appropriate can save a life.
From our experience today, things seem to go pretty well when... Eddie Eagle flies at the County Fair...