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Rondinelli: Clairton Sportsmen's Club leads way in guiding outdoors youth

| Saturday, June 18, 2016, 7:39 p.m.

For a full day July 23, Clairton Sportsmen's Club will entertain and direct up to 125 boys and girls in the use and safety of firearms and archery.

The club has the space and facilities to handle such an event. It has organized activities from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Youths will be given direction and experience in the shooting sports, firearm safety, hunting, conservation, exhibitions and more.

Specifically, activities will include .22 rifle shooting, high-power rifle, archery, trap and skeet, firearm education, action rifle, muzzleloader shooting and others. They will include direct supervision of qualified instructors and safety personnel.

Participating will be a jam of local government officials, Life Flight personnel, Pittsburgh Port Authority police and their K-9 units, a civil war exhibition, an archery exhibition, representatives of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and National Wild Turkey Federation, Peters Creek Trail Chapter, and others.

Youths will get safety equipment, gifts and lunch. There is no charge. However, registration is required by July 1. Benedetti Insurance Solutions is a co-sponsor with the club.

In this age of anti-Americanism and ignorance of history, it is rewarding to note that bastions like Clairton and others in this region — in this state — continue to carry on traditions involving firearms and hunting.

Since World War II, hunting, the rise of interest and developments in guns, bullets, components and varied activities have given the nation strength and entertainment. But in recent years, interest seems to be falling off while opposition grows.

Two statements have amused me. After the start of WWII, a Japanese military officer was quoted as saying his nation would not want to invade America because a man with a gun was behind every blade of grass. It is too bad that progressives have tried successfully at many times to restrict that national guardianship so that some current enemies have not learned of that ability.

The other quote was from a political strategist who said Pennsylvania basically is Pittsburgh on one end and Philadelphia on the other. In between is Alabama. That is a compliment to everyday working folks of the outdoor type.

Some other clubs in the region try to attract youths and have various programs in the art of shooting, hunting and safety. Library Sportsman's Association is among them.

Will Rose, a life member of McKeesport Sportsmen's Association in North Versailles and the White Oak Rod and Gun Club near Irwin with memberships of 400 and 1,200, said both clubs take “large numbers of youngsters” through hunter-safety programs yearly and encourage those kids to participate in various shooting events on a regular schedule.

Others programs exist, of course, but their numbers generally are small, cut short by team sports, family events and other activities.

Even with the number of gun clubs hereabouts, much activity for members and youths falls away each year. Some of that can be attributed to what seems to have become prevalent in every area of the nation — lack of leadership — in some clubs and in some leagues.

Clairton Sportsmen's Club obviously does not suffer from that disease.

Charles Rondinelli is a freelance writer. Reach him at

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