By ORA Youth Co-Director, Tanja Dufrene

His movements were swift, yet steady. I was awed at his ability to navigate seemingly unnoticed while replenishing supplies and cleaning up shells left after the young shooters fired their shots. This willing volunteer rapidly changed from one task to another as young and old stood in the background watching, waiting, and silently cheering the shooters on. It was truly a sight to behold.

Time passed quickly and we soon found ourselves at another station. The shooters engaged in three different disciplines while a Time passed quickly and we soon found ourselves at another station. The shooters engaged in three different disciplines while a host of volunteers provided guidance, instruction, encouragement and supplies. Having additional responsibilities elsewhere, I navigated to a different group of volunteers and entered into conversation, providing direction as needed.

As the day wore on the sun rose in all its glory, filling the sky with a bright beauty and summer warmth. Or should I say more like the blistering heat many Oklahomans have come to know but not particularly love? But even this natural challenge was met with a welcomed cooling breeze from time to time.

In time, the shooters finished their disciplines and returned to the place where the day began for refreshment and relaxation. Hot dogs were served by a team of gracious volunteers and conversations flowed like the welcomed summer breeze. These young shooters varied from beginner to skillful, yet each demonstrated interest and respect for the powerful instruments they were trusted to handle.

Sharing his thoughts with me, one volunteer said, “I would not want her shooting at me. She did quite well.” His words stayed with me as I realized our right to bear arms in this nation is a freedom that needs to be protected, not taken for granted. As Ronald Regan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do

the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” *

Moments of wonder swept through my mind as I sensed a seemingly invisible mantle being laid upon some of the finest youth America has to offer. And what might that mantle be? Perhaps it is best described by words written long ago that that tell us to train up children in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.

On that day I encountered many volunteers who rose early, stayed late and passionately shared with young shooters their knowledge about the safe handling of firearms and how to use them properly for sport, not harm. This training, this sharing of respect and responsibility for using firearms as they were intended, was like the passing of a torch to the generations coming after us. I observed many people passing on to our youth the fun that can be had and the freedom that is so precious in our right to bear arms. Respect and responsibility were modeled. Respect and responsibly were reflected back in the behavior and interactions of the youth who attended. Yes, this was a great start to the new ORA Youth Shooting Sports program.

We are grateful for the many supplies and hours of labor that were donated to make this day a success. Suzi Rouse, OKC Gun Club President, and her team provided manpower, supplies and facilities par excellence. Mark Vaughan, ORA President and NRA 2nd Vice President, David Gaskill, ORA Vice President and Acting Secretary, Charles Meloy, ORA Treasurer and Air Rifle Coach, and Amber Parrow, ORA Director of Outreach, worked tirelessly before and after the event, providing supplies, food, and top notch support. Range Masters Jim Durham and Bryan Wilkerson instructed, coached and encouraged the shooters, as well as the observers, by freely sharing their expertise and passion for the shooting sports. Many other volunteers provided coaching, instruction, food preparation and clean up. The youth of Oklahoma have a community standing behind them, beside them, and walking with them in maintaining our Second Amendment Constitutional rights.

So share the enthusiasm. Spread the word. And help us prepare future generations to responsibly maintain freedom for all in our great nation. Together we can prepare the youth of Oklahoma to safely and responsibly handle firearms, enjoy this amazing sport, and perhaps serve as role models to our neighbors.

-Tanja Dufrene, Co-Director with Donovan Dufrene, ORA Youth Shooting Sports

Tanja is a published author with a passion for strengthening a sense of community through the development of personal growth and responsibly. Her website includes inspirational writings and challenges that can be accessed at