The Lauderdale County 4-H is offering a free shooting sports program for competitors between ages 8 and 18 years of age as of Jan. 1.

Last year Lauderdale County sent four shooters to the State Invitational Shooting Competition, with Jayla Raina Vance finishing seventh in the state in the .22 Rifle CMP Sporter Competition. 4-H shooters who score in the top four of their events qualify to attend the National 4-H Competition held in Nebraska every year.

Mike and Dot Vance will again lead the program and would like to send more shooters from Lauderdale County to represent Mississippi at the national level.

The goal of the 4-H Shooting Sports program is youth development. Through participation in firearm safety training and shooting sports activities, young men and women are given the opportunity to learn responsibility, sportsmanship, self-discipline and other qualities critical to the development of productive citizens.

The national program has 428,020 young people taking part, making it one of the largest shooting education programs in the United States. In Mississippi, 4-H Shooting Sports involves thousands of kids and grows annually. More than 700 adult volunteer instructors and 4-H agents provide training and leadership throughout the state.

Young people can compete in archery, rifle, muzzleloading, pistol, air rifle and pistol, as well as shotgun. The hunting discipline teaches hunter safety skills.

Lauderdale County Shooting Sports has scheduled its mandatory safety meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 on the fifth floor of the County Annex Building. For more information, call the MSU Extension office at 601-482-9764 or visit http://extension.msstate.edu/4-h/4-h-safety-progrmas/shooting-sports.

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