Countless studies have shown that students who do participate in school activities gain a wealth of benefits to their academics, self-esteem, and future careers, but not everyone can play a musical instrument, not everyone is built to play school sports, and not everyone is interested in the typical activities schools provide.
We believe that…
- Safe and responsible handling and storage of firearms and ammunition is the first priority.
- Everyone should have fun.
- Participation is a privilege and not a right.
- Sportsmanship needs to have a constant presence.
- Students should have an equal opportunity to participate.
- Ethical behavior, dignity and respect are expected.
- Participants will be chemically free.
- Collaborative relationships with schools and students create a positive experience.
- Academic priorities must come before participation.
- Adults must serve as a positive role model to students.
- The success of the team is more important than individual honors.
- Gun clubs are critical to the success of the League and are positive business leaders in their community.
- Compliance with school, community, gun club and League rules are essential for all participants.
- Shooting sports strengthens connections within families and communities for life.
- Everything the League does will always be in the best interest of the students.
We’re aiming for 100,000 student athletes nationwide by the end of 2025.
Student athlete impact.
What do you remember about school? Chances are you, like most people, don’t remember the day-to-day classroom activities of your school experience. Instead, you remember the interactions you had with teammates, bandmates, and friends. Those experiences are what formed you, and what gave you the life skills necessary to succeed in life.
The USA Clay Target League helps young students by providing a unique participation opportunity. For tens-of-thousands of students — nearly 40 percent of League athletes — the League is the one and only school-based extracurricular activity they participate in. The League gives them a chance to interact with other students, develop life-long friendships, and learn the value of teamwork, cooperation, and dedication.
Recruit, Retain, and Reactivate (R3).
The outdoors industry, along with conservation and heritage groups, have long been concerned about declining participation in the outdoors, shooting sports, fishing, and hunting communities. The largest active group of people that embraces an outdoors lifestyle has an average age of 56, and these Baby Boomers are not getting any younger. As that group continues to age, within just a few years the decline in outdoor activity participation will be at historic levels.
In terms of R3, the League is already the single most successful program for recruiting the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. Since the program’s inception, more than 150,000 students have been introduced to shooting sports through the League’s exciting school-based programs, making it the leader in this area. The League introduces more than 10,000 NEW students to clay target shooting sports each year.
Retention is also an area in which the League plays an important part. The League retains more than 95 percent of non-senior student athletes and 99.9 percent of teams annually. League athletes are mentored by over 10,000 dedicated volunteer coaches and team staff. These dedicated outdoorsmen and women are thrilled to have the chance to continue their involvement in the outdoor lifestyle by assisting and encouraging the next generation.
Many of the League’s student athletes’ parents have found a revived interest in the outdoors, as they now can share a part of their own heritage with their children. More than 40% of League parents have reported an increased participation in hunting and/or recreational shooting sports because their child is in the League. Through League programs, by the time a student completes their education, he or she will have participated in outdoor activities for nearly half of their life.
Clay target athletes have tremendous buying power, especially when compared with the average hunter.
The average clay target athlete spends twice as much on retail expenditures related to the sport. More specifically, clay target athletes and their families spend nearly three times as much on firearms and ammunition and average more than one firearm purchase per family each year. In addition, clay target athletes spend more than $2,000 annually on hunting and/or recreational shooting sports-related expenditures.
Creating the next generation of outdoor stewards.
Hunting and Fishing are a strong part of America’s outdoor heritage, and that heritage has been in danger. According to a 2016 survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, less than 5 percent of U.S. citizens age 16 and older hunt—and that percentage has been going down steadily each year. Reversing that trend is a priority for conservation groups nationwide.
The USA Clay Target League has been an important partner for conservation groups working to protect America’s outdoor heritage. By providing an avenue to reach young Americans, groups such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and others have been able to spread their important message, recruit young people, and support local teams across the country.
The trend in hunting has been mirrored at our nation’s shooting ranges. Across the country, shooting ranges have been fighting a losing battle to survive. Facing a decades-long decline in hunting and target shooting participation, ranges have been forced to shutter their doors because of lack of membership and income.
For clubs that partner with local school clay target teams in the USA Clay Target League, that narrative changes. Instead of declining membership and shuttered doors, clubs are experiencing a new renaissance. Clubs that were once on the verge of extinction are now flourishing as young men and women—and their parents—participate in clay target shooting.