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For over twenty years

our club sponsored a Monday night youth shooting program. Under the capable leadership of Gary Lonstein and Tom Zeider, many of our youth were taught how to shoot and the program enjoyed several moments of greatness as well as some low points, but always Gary and Tom stayed with the program whether there were ten or just one that showed up to shoot. Even through bitter winter nights backed by a roaring wood stove, the shooters stuck their guns through the ports and blasted away.

At the inception of the program the club, then known as the WSA, purchased seven match Remington rifles complete with jackets, scopes, gloves, pads etc., a considerable outlay at that time. In 1997, Gary and and Tom decided to hang up their tutelage and retire. Even though the club acknowledged their vital contribution to the youth of the area, everyone also thought, "What do we do now?"

Fortunately for the club, a well known local resident, Donald Mekulik became an active member and almost immediately voiced a concern to help the youth of the community. Since he was also a Boy Scout leader, he felt the program of shooting would work well within that organization since some of the merit badge awards included shooting. From that moment the Junior Shooting Program was given a shot in the arm and interest began all over again. Soon Don had them shooting trap and skeet. Numbers jumped to twenty at times and after a winter hiatus, Don announced plans to include bow shooting and.22 rifle shooting as well. An appeal went out to club members for used or new shooting arms and the response was terrific. The Ulster County Trappers donated a brand new shotgun, the club purchased another plus the purchase of ammunition. New.22 rifles, bows, financial contributions began to pour in. The highlight of the year was a grant for $1500 given by the NRA for the Junior program. These funds will be used to purchase audio-visual aids and other equipment necessary for a successful and safe program. Other donations continue to come in from generous sportsmen and we thank them all.

Together with additional staff to assist him and a committee to coordinate the finances and spending, Don has expressed his personal thanks to any and all who have contributed. He states that the response continues to be beyond his original aspirations.

The Wawarsing Rod and Gun Club fully supports this program that has all the earmarks of lasting a long time.


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Wawarsing Rod & Gun Club             PO Box 305 Napanoch, NY 12458