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What is the 4-H Western Heritage Project?
The 4-H Western Heritage Project combines a comprehensive study of the Old West with the fastest growing shooting sports discipline in the world – western action shooting. The purpose of this project is to provide an avenue for 4-H members and adult leaders to experience the lifestyles and cultures of the Old West from the period of around 1860- 1900 through a living history approach to learning while instilling the concepts of gun safety and personal responsibility. Members dress in Old West clothing, shoot replica firearms of the frontier period, and expand their knowledge of U.S. history.
Educational Impacts of the 4-H Western Heritage Project Include:
• Connecting today’s youth with the values and traditions of our past
• Preserving and gaining an appreciation for the heritage of the Old West in the time period of 1860-1900
• Instilling an investigative interest in American Frontier history leading to personal research and increased knowledge of the Old West
• Recognizing the accomplishments and importance of both men and women from a variety of cultures and races that contributed to the history of the Old West
• Enhancing learning by participation in living-history through the use of historically accurate, firearms, clothing, and accessories
• Encouraging visits to local, state, regional, and national museums
4-H Shooting Sports Outcomes Include:
• Learning and applying the fundamentals of the safe handling of firearms
• Placing life-skill development over competition
• Providing an enjoyable and action oriented shooting sports activity that attracts and retains 4-H members and their families
• Promote 4-H Western Action Shooting and historical study to 4-H programs across the nation
Each year culminates in a championship event where 4-H members shoot for the fastest time, take a history exam, and have their persona knowledge assessed. It's not always the fastest shooter who wins.
This project is now active in Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington, Kansas, Colorado, California, Alabama, Utah, and Oklahoma with more states requesting training each year.
What's the Best Thing About the 4-H Western Heritage Project? Comments from 4-H Members:
"Meeting new people"
"Being with other kids and practicing skills"
"Living the old west style"
"Shooting the different stages"
"Being able to use the stuff in school & other
4-H projects- it made it less work for me"
"The history and shooting combination"
What's Your Least Favorite Thing About the 4-H Western Heritage Project? Comments from 4-H Members:
"Don’t have one"
"Earplugs" - (too bad, they're mandatory)
"The end of the project year"
"I had no least favorite part"