More than 10,000 Scouts aged between 11 and 14 travelled from all corners of the world to be part of the 2019 Australian Scout Jamboree. Throughout the event the youngsters had around 150 different activities to choose from but, despite the wide selection, each morning there was a stampede towards the shooting range.
SSAA South Australia were responsible for setting up the 20m range, including police approval and walls made from hay bales, followed by one metre of solid sand and even more hay bales. The lengthy range allowed details of 18 to shoot at once and, despite running almost constantly for several days, it was still not enough to cater to the demand. Approximately 2260 Scouts got to try out the firing range which was staffed by more than 30 SSAA volunteers in very hot and dusty conditions.
Each Scout was given 20 shots at a metal target followed by five final shots at a paper one. Up for grabs was a special ‘Bang’ badge awarded to the best grouping from each detail and the badges proved a hot commodity, creating a real buzz around the range.
The range was setup in the ‘Bang Site’ area of the Jamboree which also contained a BMX track, darts and land yachts. Not surprisingly to us there were no injuries at the shooting range but quite a few from other activities, a handful of Scouts reporting to the shooting range with cuts and bruises sustained in other activities in need of first aid!
The importance and value of exposing thousands of youngsters to try shooting can’t be overstated. Many of the Scouts hadn’t used a firearm before but will now be able to tell their family and friends what a positive experience it was, and it’s likely more than a few will try shooting again sometime soon.
Overall the Jamboree was a huge success for both the SSAA and Scouts Australia. The SSAA volunteers throughout the event worked tirelessly and proved themselves fantastic ambassadors for the shooting sports and it certainly would not have been possible without them.