Marksmanship is an Olympic and collegiate sport that is also offered by high school JROTC programs around the world. Marksmanship plays a tremendous role in helping young people learn important life skills such as discipline, self-control, focus, concentration, and teamwork. In fact, data from one team in Lee County, Florida, shows the Mariner High School team of 20 Cadet-athletes had an average grade point average of 3.3, a 96% attendance rate (higher than the district average) and zero disciplinary infractions in the past two years. While competition results are important for any athletic team, the more important outcomes of Marksmanship are firearm safety education, improving student success in the classrooms, and learning essential life skills.
The NRA Foundation grants have made a significant impact on JROTC Marksmanship teams in Lee County. Grants have supplied range safety equipment as well as air rifle equipment, which allows teams to train and compete in a safe environment, as well as compete at a very high level.
At Mariner High School, the grants provided over $22,700 in equipment which helped grow the range capacity. This afforded an opportunity for multiple teams to safely compete together, in-turn promoting team building and the sharing of best practices. Four teams from Lee County qualified for the Florida State JROTC Marksmanship Championship last year, two of which finished in the top 10. Mariner, particularly, rose to the top with three separate state championships, a national ranking, and several Marksmanship scholarships for cadets. The generous grants from The NRA Foundation have helped this program excel.
Due to the heightened success of Lee county's cadet athletes, the program drew the attention of the prestigious Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU). This past summer, AMU sent three elite athletes to Mariner High School to host a two-day Florida State coaching clinic, attended by 26 coaches from around the state. AMU provided a comprehensive overview of firearm safety, competing at elite levels and safe and effective coaching techniques. One of the highlights of the clinics was informing both coaches and athletes about the many post-high school opportunities, such as scholarships and the pathway to the Olympics. Scholarship officers from universities also provided presentations at the clinic.
The valuable life skills and safety lessons Marksmanship athletes take away from the sport cannot be understated. The NRA Foundation’s generous support to young athletes across the country helps promote, advance, and encourage firearms and shooting sports safety.
Apply NOW for a 2024 grant from The NRA Foundation. Application deadlines start in October and vary by state. For guidelines, deadlines, and the application, go to nrafoundation.org/grants/ and apply today.