About 50 teenaged girls from all over the country recently visited Old Hudson Plantation in Sparta to get some hands-on experience with shooting sporting clays.
“This is one event that I wouldn’t miss,” said Ron Hess, of Putnam County, who volunteered as a shooting instructor for the afternoon.
The unique event was facilitated by TeenPact, a non-profit Christian ministry based in Richmond, Va. that focuses on teaching leadership and discipleship skills for students around the country.
“It’s so good to have a wide variety of young ladies joining us at this event in Georgia. We have girls as far away as Montana that have come to be with us, and some local Georgia girls, as well,” said Serena Deloglos, TeenPact’s director of staff development.
TeenPact was created in 1994 with the vision of helping young people get involved with state politics while inside a Christian environment. That premise still stands today as 43 states have TeenPact opportunities for boys and girls aged 13 to 19.
“The foundational program is a four-day ‘State Class’ that is held at the individual’s state capital,” said Serena. “Here in Georgia, we bring students from all over the state to come to Atlanta and learn about their state and local governments and what leadership and participation looks like for them as students.”
Once a student completes a State Class, they become TeenPact Alumni and are then allowed to participate in special “Alumni Events” in different areas of the country. The sporting clays instruction at Old Hudson was just one part of a larger Alumni Event called TeenPact Endeavor, which is a six-day camp designed specifically for young women 15 to 19 years of age.
“Even though these women are teenagers, we really believe God will use them to impact the culture and change lives to change the world,” said Serena.
“What we want to do here at this specific Alumni Event is give young women the tools to do that adequately. We’re focusing on a lot of life skills this week, everything from being here at Old Hudson Plantation and learning outdoor shooting sports to learning table manners and etiquette. We spend a lot of time studying God’s Word together in Bible study. They learn how to be good public speakers and good leaders in a variety of environments.”
At Old Hudson, a group of shooting instructors split the 50 young ladies into four groups and taught them gun safety and how to properly stand, shoulder and mount a 20 gauge shotgun. After that, the girls took individual turns slinging lead at sporting clays.
“Many of the girls who have joined us this week have never held a gun or shot a gun, but we recognize it as a fun sport and something really adventurous that they can do,” said Serena. “We want to use this opportunity at the shooting range to show that they can be confident and well-equipped for any situation.”
At the end of the afternoon, the girls gathered up in a large group for a friendly shotgun competition called the “Flush and Flurry.” The girls took turns in groups of seven shooting at multiple clay targets being simultaneously thrown. The game simulates a red-hot dove shoot. Girls teamed together to see which group could break the most targets.
Kelsie Tucker, 16, of Dallas, Texas, said she enjoyed the two-hour shooting experience at Old Hudson Plantation. Kelsie’s mom, Vivien, joined her daughter as a chaperone.
“Today has been a good experience for my daughter,” said Vivien. “I want my daughter to be well-rounded. At this camp, the leaders will also be teaching the girls how to change oil, tires, throw frisbee, football, but then they also teach them dinner etiquette and manners, poise, and lady-like activities, like dressing formally.”
Vivien said the other girls at TeenPact Endeavor have been a breath of fresh air.
“I really like the environment, the positive encouragement,” said Vivien. “It’s hard to find that kind of atmosphere anywhere else these days. These girls genuinely care about each other.
“TeenPact is about changing lives to change the world, and the very best thing about the organization is that they keep Christ at the center of it all.”
For more on TeenPact, go to teenpact.com or reach out to the Georgia State Coordinator Cindy Cocks at email@example.com. Several of the four-day State Classes in Atlanta will take place in February and March.