Kansas City, MO — More than 30 Kansas City area youth experienced the excitement of busting clays, arrowing targets and hooking fish on Sunday, Sept. 17, during the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) 2nd Annual Boilermakers Get Youths Outdoors Day at Powder Creek Shooting Park in Lenexa, Kansas.
A cooperative effort between the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, and Kansas City Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC), the free community event followed on the heels of the USA’s 14th Annual Boilermakers Kansas City Sporting Clays Shoot the day prior.
While last year’s event focused solely on the shooting sports, fishing was added to the menu this year. According to USA Events Manager Chris Piltz, the kids “crushed it fishing” for catfish, bluegill and bass. Most of the kids caught multiple fish, and one young boy caught nearly 20.
“I had three or four kids come up to me and say, ‘This is the greatest day of my life,’” Piltz said.
Eleven volunteers from Roofers Local 20, Painters District Council 3, UA Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 and Gateway Clay Busters provided participants with firearms safety instruction and assistance shooting bows and shotguns as well as fishing.
“I most enjoyed seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces when they shot a gun or bow for the first time or caught their first fish. It was clear everyone had a wonderful time,” said Roofers Local 20 Business Manager Steve Gercone, who has volunteered at numerous USA outreach events. “We had some kids there who had never fished in their life, so to catch something pretty quickly gave them a favorable outlook on outdoor activities—and that’s the goal.”
All supplies were provided at no charge, and each child received a fishing rod and reel to keep. Youths and their families also enjoyed a free lunch.
Tim Steffan, a member of UA Local 562 and a coach with the Gateway Clay Busters, along with a fellow coach and two team members, including his son, volunteered at the sporting clays station. They provided kids as well as a few parents with an introduction to gun safety and shooting clays. “I think we had even more fun than the kids,” Steffan said.
He added that the shooting sports are a great sport to get into because anyone can do it, and it’s something you can enjoy your entire life.
“Not every kid is a football player or baseball player,” Steffan said. “I wanted to do a sport with my son that I could do the rest of my life. My son and I trap shoot all over the country, and there are guys in their 90s shooting with their kids and grandkids. And it’s one of the safest sports. Of all the thousands of kids I’ve seen shooting, I’ve never seen one get hurt.”
Get Youth Outdoors Day was part of a series of free, community-based youth outreach activities organized under Work Boots on the Ground—the USA’s flagship conservation program supported by national and founding partners Bank of Labor, UIG, ULLICO, AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation, Buck Knives and Provost Umphrey Law Firm.
“Our outdoor heritage depends on recruiting new participants,” said USA Executive Director and CEO Walt Ingram. “We are proud to provide young people and their families with these rewarding experiences and extremely grateful to all the union members who make them possible.”
Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA)
The USA is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Work Boots on the Ground (WBG)
WBG is the USA’s flagship conservation program that brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to conservation projects that improve and enhance public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitat, restore America’s parks and mentor youth in the outdoors. The USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program works closely with federal, state and local agencies and other conservation groups to provide manpower needed to complete critical projects that may otherwise go undone.