People often ask why we offer shooting sports at a camp for children that struggle with impulse control. Below is Rand’s response to one of those question.
I am happy that you liked Charis Hills Camp and felt it beneficial for your child. I would like to explain why we offer riflery, archery, and clay shooting (only for teens) at camp.
- No camper is required to take any activity, including any of the shooting sports. The parent chooses the activities the camper is involved in. Many parents like those programs because of the safety aspect and skills their children learn.
- It is statistically proven that children who know nothing about firearms are much more likely to hurt themselves or others with a firearm. Our programs are oriented toward safety. In 35 years of teaching firearms to children, including our group of campers, we have never had an accident on the firing range. It is highly controlled and supervised, as it should be with anyone, anywhere.
- We believe strongly that these children deserve the opportunity to learn as other children learn. We provide the supervision necessary to help them achieve success and be safe. We would offer any activity (that we can afford to offer) that will allow them to better fit into our society, to learn lifelong hobbies and skills that allow them to enjoy life away from a computer and interact with other people appropriately. At camp, we teach safety above all and explain that computer games are not real. Firearms, of all kinds, are to be respected and used appropriately. (Personally, I do not condone gaming activities that portray any killing, especially killing humans)
- Lastly, I will say that children who have difficulty in impulsive behavior are challenged to control that behavior when at the firing range. It is an amazing thing to watch a camper who has difficulty in other areas of camp, desire to go to riflery so bad that they learn to control themselves, at least for that time. If children are not able to control themselves they are assigned to another class. Most all of the campers, when challenged, can demonstrate self-control and are successful. A “bulls-eye” award is cherished among our campers.
- Our primary mission is to teach about Jesus Christ, and secondary to that is to provide campers with a feeling of accomplishment. There are a few activities that stand out in helping a camper establish confidence in themselves. Swimming, horsemanship, archery are also high on that list. Riflery provides an immediate reward and ownership. No one else hit or missed the target. When a young camper learns to control the weight of the gun, their breathing, the touch on the trigger, and hits the target… the feeling of accomplishment is immediate. Smiles are frequent on the range. That’s why it is still a favorite activity at camp. I feel strongly that in that time to learn that skill, a camper also becomes a safer, more competent, and able child at home. He/she is much less likely to allow curiosity to pull a gun from Dad’s closet to see how it works, or show it to others and end up being a victim or hurting another out of ignorance.
Charis Hills Camp is a place for children with HF Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD and other learning differences. Children attending camp will find Charis Hills to be a place of encouragement where they can safely build skills for life. Located in Sunset, TX, Rand and Colleen Southard teach counselors and campers how to show Grace and Acceptance to all. For more information go to: http://www.charishills.org