Laura Bliss-Morris of the Union Sportsmen's Alliance sends us this report.
Nearly 150 union members, shooting enthusiasts and other guests—including United Union of Roofers and Waterproofers President Kinsey Robinson, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and state Attorney General Lori Swanson—teamed up to support conservation at the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) second annual Roofers International Twin Cities Sporting Clays Shoot and Get Youth Outdoors Day on Sept. 15 and 16 at Wild Marsh Sporting Clays in Clear Lake.
The shoot raised more than $62,000—nearly double the amount raised at the 2011 event—to support the USA’s conservation efforts. It also served as the perfect opportunity to introduce Minnesotans to the impact skilled union volunteers are making on conservation projects in the communities where they live, work and play.
As part of the weekend's festivities, 12 volunteers from the Roofers and Waterproofers, Bricklayers (BAC), Laborers (LIUNA), St. Cloud Building Trades Council, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and St. Cloud ATV Club came together to host Get Youth Outdoors Day—a Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s Boots on the Ground program aimed at inspiring a love of the great outdoors in Minnesota’s youth.
Twenty-two youth, ages 9 to 17, received hunting and firearm safety training and supervised, hands-on introductions to trap shooting, rifle shooting and varying Minnesota terrains via an ATV simulator.
Because so many union members supported this year’s events, each child was able to receive personal instruction at the patterning and rifle shooting stations, which were managed by Mike Ganz from the St. Cloud Building Trades Council. Thanks to the guidance of Roofers and Waterproofers President Robinson and his wife, Mona, 21 out of 22 participants broke a target at the trap shooting station.
The USA’s Boots on the Ground program brings together union members from around the country, who are willing to volunteer their time and expertise to tackle conservation projects, like Get Youth Outdoors Day, which improve and enhance public access, wildlife habitat and outdoor experiences for communities across America.
With sportsmen contributing nearly $2.9 billion every year for conservation—and the outdoor industry supporting 9.4 million U.S. jobs—it’s critical that the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, its partners and Minnesotans continue recruiting and mentoring the next generation of sportsmen and women.