SMALL TOWN, BIG SUCCESS
MidwayUSA Foundation funds youth shooting teams of all disciplines AND all sizes. Teams across the nation, in communities big and small, are offered the same tools to grow their endowment. However, often we hear, “Only the big clubs in large communities are successful.” No question, every team encounters different hurdles in growing their team endowment. The key is overcoming those hurdles. Jones County Shooting Sports from Jones County South Dakota is one of those shooting teams. A team located in the smallest county in the state, which is also the least populated has a MidwayUSA Foundation Team Endowment balance of nearly $100,000 and $9,000 of that was added in May, alone.
The keys to their success? MidwayUSA Foundation fundraising products, full team effort, and good, old-fashioned hard work. The team registered and received a Browning 22 rifle and 2 Orca coolers, at no cost, from us. Those three items raised $8,000. In addition, those dollars received matching funds through our Matching Program. In May, that match was $1.21 on the dollar! The programs we offer are just part of the success. Money wasn’t generated without the efforts of every athlete on the Jones County Shooting Sports team. Every kid sold a minimum of $200 worth of raffle tickets and had eight months to do so. To set the kids up for success, they were provided a ‘cheat sheet’ with information about the team and the endowment.
“We help them [our athletes] with an approach and what to say. Being able to ask a stranger to buy a ticket and strike up a conversation is something that will help them through life,” said Instructor Jeff Birkeland.
Jones County Shooting Sports has seen more than financial victories too. A county that hasn’t won a state championship in any high school sport in 20 years has in shooting sports! Every year, the team places in the 4-H State competition. And, they show up to those competitions in style, recently using some endowment grant funds to purchase a team trailer. “This enclosed trailer has been a lifesaver for us. Prior, parents would struggle to find enough room to haul equipment, first aid, and other items the team packs,” added Jeff Birkeland. In addition to the trailer, for the first time this year, the club was able to pay the entrance fee for each kid at the state shoot.
No matter the size of your community or number of youth on your team, drive and hard work conquer all. Combine that with the tools we offer to every team, and endowment growth will follow. Having funds to cover necessary team expenses is essential but also minimal compared to the life skills young athletes gain from just being a member of the team. Skills like responsibility, discipline, and leadership will prepare them for the rest of their life, and soon they will give back to the team and community that helped them…no matter the size.