I’m sure we’re all thankful the elections, not necessarily the politics, are behind us and we can get back to concentrating on our sport and moving forward in our efforts to develop and normalise it as a regular and legitimate community pastime.
Much of the SSAA’s recent progressive activity hasn’t had the exposure it deserves but with the support and assistance of our great membership we’re positioned well to showcase shooters and firearms owners in the best possible light. My congratulations go to the SSAA state associations and branches who are increasingly coming on board and participating in and promoting a diverse range of high profile activities.
In WA the establishment of the Western Australia Accessible Sport Shooting Group specifically for shooters with a disability has to be applauded, as does our newest ambassador, clay target shooter Scott Brydon from ACT, who proudly represents Australia as a wheelchair shooter in the SG-S Class and is currently number two in the world rankings as well as topping the Commonwealth ladder.
There have been a number of special days at several state branches for new shooters, juniors and women, supported by SSAA National Coaching and Membership Development Manager Gemma Dunn, to broaden the scope for these groups to get a positive feel for the sport. The most recent of these was a successful SSAA Darwin branch-sponsored Ladies Open Day in June called Shoot for a Cure NT, a fundraiser with all proceeds going to Ovarian Cancer Australia.
And don’t forget SSAA South Australia’s efforts in bringing shooting to the 2019 Australian Scout Jamboree in January and ongoing conservation efforts in funding university research into deer in Queensland and Victoria, quoll rehabilitation in SA and our renewed support for Aussie Ark, previously Devil’s Ark in New South Wales.
I certainly haven’t overlooked the myriad of other core activities that all levels of SSAA are involved in, details of which can be seen on our website, Facebook page or numerous print publications and I would advise there’s so much happening that you really need to keep a regular eye on these sources to keep up.
That old criticism ‘the SSAA should be doing more’ no longer has any credibility and our detractors are finding increasing difficulty in offering any valid condemnation of what we stand for. We’re making real progress but cannot become complacent and expect ‘someone else’ will do it for us.
As we approach then surpass our 200,000 member target, I appeal to all members to keep themselves informed of the SSAA’s achievements and the many benefits membership brings, both individually and collectively. Wherever possible we need to take an active interest in our sport either by just keeping ourselves informed, attending branch meetings, participating in the local branch or range or by being an ethical and responsible hunter.
SSAA is a member-driven organisation and its strength is in those members. Make sure your local committees are representing your needs and values to the relevant SSAA administrations and, if not, become involved and help us support you. There’s strength in numbers and we can only make a difference if we’re seen to be strong and standing together.