Previous Post
Next Post

The smiles keep me coming back to help at America’s longest-running NRA Youth Shooting Camp in Bloomington, Ilinois. Darnall’s GunWorks and Ranges hosts the kids each year for a four-day, three night gun camp on their property. This year marks the 24th year for the event.

It’s also probably the only National Rifle Association summer camp sponsored in part by the City of Chicago’s gun buyback program. We know Mayor Rahm Emanuel will sleep better knowing that Chicago taxpayer money helped fund this worthwhile program to introduce young people to the fun and excitement of shooting.

Sights From Nation's Longest-Running NRA Youth Shooting Camp - Day One

The facility’s owners, Ron and Sue Darnall, shut down the place to paying customers to host the camp. It stands as yet another concrete example of their dedication to America’s longstanding gun culture. Award-winning support, too. Sue, pictured above, received the Marion Hammer Women of Distinction Award in 2007 for her work promoting freedom.

Both of them personify the gun culture that Michael Bloomberg, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi would dearly love to extinguish in this country.

Sights From Nation's Longest-Running NRA Youth Shooting Camp - Day One

In total, about 100 young people aged 8-16 enjoyed trigger time all day Friday. This isn’t 3-gun or high-speed, low-drag operations. The camp stresses introducing the fundamental shooting skills to these kids, along with a heaping helping of fun. Oh yes, and plenty of firearm safety, too.  Lots of emphasis on firearm safety.

What’s more, Saturday and Sunday hold a whole lot more shooting in still more shooting disciplines. The first full day’s shooting stations included trap, black powder, Ruger Steel Challenge and air pistol.

Sights From Nation's Longest-Running NRA Youth Shooting Camp - Day One

Sights From Nation's Longest-Running NRA Youth Shooting Camp - Day One

The camp continues Saturday and Sunday. For the last few years, my fellow GSL Defense Training instructors and I supervise the pistol shooting station. We make it fun for participants with lots of shade, fans, music and a great time for all.

At the same time, we turn up the cool factor to 11 by letting the top shooters in each relay shoot some neat center-fire “pistols.” This year, those pistols will include a couple of SIG-braced “pistols,” a braced CZ Scorpion and more.

Years ago, the kids nicknamed the Kel-Tec PLR-16 pistol “The Giggler” because it makes grown men giggle when fired.  In addition, we make available more traditional handguns: 1911s, Beretta 92’s, S&W .357 Magnums, GLOCKS and more.

For young people, shooting these center-fire handguns for the first time brings big smiles to faces. Even better, it inspires them to take the marksmanship element of shooting the pistols seriously.

Sights From Nation's Longest-Running NRA Youth Shooting Camp - Day One

At other stations, they’ll learn about and shoot rifles, Cowboy Action, air rifles and archery.

I have participated at the camp for almost twenty years now. Today, I see a second generation of young people coming through. It’s something when a parent comes up to you to tell you how they remember you helping them years ago when they attended camp as a kid.


Previous Post
Next Post


  1. As an instructor at the camp for the 6th year in a row, the kids are having a great time, learning in a safe and positive environment. It’s as much fun for the adults as it is for the kids!

  2. This brings back 50+ year old memories of shooting Crossman leaver action BB rifles at the Boys Club every winter in the basement of the community center with my three brothers and a dozen or so neighbor boys. My first experience with a “REAL” gun was at 6th grade camp, where every kid( boys and girls) in the school district (suburban S.E. Michigan) was given an opportunity to target shoot with a .22 caliber Marlin Model 60. Back then I didn’t know of any teenage kid that had not been exposed to shooting and gun safety. What a different world we live in now.

  3. This -> “Both of them personify the gun culture that Michael Bloomberg, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi would dearly love to extinguish in this country.”

    They don’t work for you. They don’t like the way you live. They’re all about crafting Biological Citizen Units more conformable to their big vision of How Things Should Be(r)(tm). They are the opposite of about securing security, stability and space for you to live as you prefer.

    Sadly, the “interest groups” these power-collectors assemble to back them will be the next victims of convenience, as soon as there’s a better mix of clients to patronize.

    It’s at least interesting as a demonstration of distributed intelligence. These folks are in general each dumb as a box of rocks. Yet, each making tiny, local, shallow decisions it acts like a grand scheme orchestrated by some immense moving intelligence. I’m sure Bloomie’s astro-turf sods cross-communicate, some, but that’s incidental. They hang out at the same coffee shops, plotting revolution, imagining they’re in Paris, and better looking. (Also that they hand’t banned cigarettes, but who’s counting…)

    The problem is it’s hard to counter what’s essentially a movement of slime-mold. The gun camp hosts demonstrate the only alternative that works: get on with what you’re doing, and it “they” demand something, say “Make me.”

      • Hard to read, but worth it. 🙂

        The only thing I’d add is that the people at the top — the ones that actually see and spend the billionaires’ cash — definitely cross-communicate. They have a nationwide network of contacts in positions of influence, ready to spring into action at any opportunity. It’s like an undercover PR army.

        That’s how we got the Parkland Magic Children’s Crusade. Oprah and Clooney and other people with real money don’t spontaneously donate to a handful of teenage twerps on Instagram. Their financial and PR people worked with progressive organizers behind the scenes to make it happen, and PDQ.

        The slime mold goes nowhere if it’s not being fed.

  4. It’s great to see things like this.

    For me, the rifle range and Rifleman merit badge at Boy Scout camp planted the seed. I spent every spare minute at the rifle range during that week-long camp 34 years ago, and when I put my first shot through my first firearm purchase (about 9 years ago), all the joy of that boyhood experience came rushing back at once. It was awesome.

    At our big family reunion last week, I helped two 11-year-old nephews learn to shoot for the first time. And even my sister-in-law who always seemed afraid of guns joined in and put a few shots through my Henry lever-action .22 when she saw how much fun her husband was having. You should have seen her face light up when she plugged her first reactive target (an OJ carton filled w/water) dead center.

    That’s how it starts. That’s what it’s all about.

  5. What am I seeing on the next-to-bottom picture?

    It looks like a lever-thingy sight adjuster?

  6. We need more like this and bring in kids from local schools to get them educated on safety AND liberty.

    That will fight back the brain washing from Communist school teachers.
    You have to get involved with local school district elections.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here