During last year’s regional coaches’ meetings, it was announced that the TNSCTP registration fee was going to increase for this season. We had not confirmed the exact amount at that time, but it was clear that insurance premiums and other costs were continuing to increase, and we wanted to give you that advance notice.
Looking back at the 2009/2010 season, the fee was $10/athlete per discipline. For the 2010/2011 season, the fee was raised to a flat fee of $30/athlete, regardless of how many disciplines that athlete participated in. In 2010, there were two part-time individuals running a program of 89 teams and 1,697 athletes. That year, 1,073 participants competed in the State Championships: 795 in trap, 127 in Skeet, and 151 in Sporting Clays. Also, the Regional Championships were for Trap only.
Now a staff of three individuals manages an ever-growing program of almost 2,200 athletes and over 100 teams through the non-profit Tennessee Wildlife Federation. The 2016 State Championships included 2,130 participants, with 1,231 in Trap, 444 in Skeet, and 455 in Sporting Clays. Also, each Region has a Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays Championship that rivals that of the State Championship six years ago.
With the start of the 2016/2017 season, the TNSCTP registration fee will be $50 per athlete, which covers all disciplines. This is the first increase in six years, and you can see how much has changed in that time period. We realize this is a substantial increase, but it is essential to the program’s continued growth and success. Here’s why:
The Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program’s mission is to introduce youth to an outdoor lifestyle they will enjoy for a lifetime. To that end, our goal is to provide a safe, ethical, instructional environment to get youth involved in the shotgun shooting sports. But what does TNSCTP do to accomplish this goal?
Leading the Nation: We work with local schools and other groups to establish teams, recruit athletes, train and certify coaches and shooters, and assist them in securing practice facilities and participate in competitions. It often takes advance work with the community, school system and elected officials to get everything in place, and we provide some seed funding to get new teams off the ground. Tennessee’s SCTP program is now the most successful of its kind in America.
Partnership with TWRA: The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency supports TNSCTP with a generous grant, but it does not cover the cost of the program. Registration fees and private fundraising close the funding gap each year.
Safetyis the Top Priority:
Athlete Safety Training: Each TNSCTP athlete is required to become safety certified through the state’s Hunter Education program before they fire the first shot.
Coach Safety Training: TNSCTP requires NRA Level 1 certification for all coaches, and we hold qualifying classes across the state each year. This ensures that properly trained individuals are working with our athletes, and additional advanced courses are offered to allow coaches to further their training and certifications.
Coach Screening: Criminal background checks are required for all individuals working with our youth, and TNSCTP provides that service. This protects you as a coach, as well as the athletes in the program.
We are constantly working with national experts to regularly review our safety practices and policies. Again, this protects the children, the team sponsors, the volunteers and all of us.
Insurance: In today’s world, the need to ensure adequate insurance coverage is more important than ever. Unfortunately, that gets more expensive each year. TNSCTP provides insurance for our athletes, coaches, ranges, and team sponsors to mitigate liability in the event of an accident. It should be noted that TNSCTP has not had a reportable accident in the history of the program.
Practice Space: Every team needs a place to practice, and securing those locations can be a challenge. When the program first started, we worked with local ranges to gain permission for teams to practice. As the program has grown, we have planted 60+ machines across the state to provide more practice space. We also partner with TWRA as they build ranges to ensure they are located strategically, and help promote TNSCTP’s continued growth. At least eight more machines will be placed this year.
Your Liaison to the National Organizations: It is difficult for local teams to know where to start in working with major players in the industry. As one of the state’s oldest and largest non-profit conservation organizations, the Tennessee Wildlife Federation has the right relationships in place to make things happen for TNSCTP and our teams.
Industry: We work with groups including Rio Ammunition and Gamaliel Shooting Supply to provide discounts and affordable ammo and other supplies for the teams. While the costs of these things continue to rise, the sponsor relationships give us buying power and the exposure we provide to those companies helps offset the end costs to you.
SSSF: The national Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation has continued to grow like we have. We work with SSSF throughout the year to ensure that Tennessee’s interests are represented.
National Governing Bodies (NGB): In addition to SSSF, TNSCTP is the liaison between our teams and groups like the ATA (Amateur Trap Association), NSSA (National Skeet Shooting Association), NSCA (National Sporting Clays Association), and USA Shooting.
Funding Opportunities: We are continually working with local teams to provide as many funding concepts as possible – some are limited by state law, but we understand the regulations and what has been proven to work in the past. Through our coordination with coaches, we learn about and share great ideas from other parts of the state.
Friends of the NRA: We also collaborate to educate other organizations, such as the Friends of the NRA, on TNSCTP so they are informed when local teams apply for grants.
Hosting Events/Competitions: Friendly, fair competition is an integral part in teaching athletes to thrive in individual and team-based environments.
Local Events: We work with gun clubs across the state to host local competitions, and we assist in distributing that information to all the teams.
Regional Championships: As a result of TNSCTP’s rapid growth, we instituted regional competitions in Trap as an opportunity for teams to qualify to shoot in the State Championships. As the State Championships have grown, that need has lessened, but the Regional Championships have been expanded to include Skeet and Sporting Clays in all four regions.
State Championships: The TNSCTP State Championships is the largest competition held in Tennessee, with 2,000+ participants in attendance. We award individual awards for males and females across multiple divisions and disciplines, along with squad and team awards.
New Online Registration and Scoring system: You can understand the challenge of operating a statewide program that involves 2,200 athletes, their families and 100+ teams and coaches. We maintain two databases to manage all the information and scoring, and the TNSCTP registration software helps us track all the coaches, volunteers and athletes. The new SHOT 5 software assists us and you in hosting competitions and then quickly providing the official scores and results in a timely and efficient manner. Any team can now host a local event, invite other TNSCTP teams, and publish the results.
Rules Committee: We spend significant time staffing the TNSCTP Rules Committee to address issues as they arise in an appropriate manner, as well as enforce those policies when necessary.
Academic Recognition: Scholastic is the key word in our name – we want this program to be an incentive for the athletes to excel in the classroom.
All-State: All-State recognizes excellence in the classroom and on the field. We take the scores earned on the field and combine them with an academic standard to honor athletes across the state. The All-State program has grown from recognizing 26 individuals in the first year to 88 in 2016.
Scholarships: Through the funding of generous partners, TNSCTP awards $7,000 in scholarships each year. These funds further the scholastic goals of the program. Many colleges and universities also offer scholarships, and TNSCTP helps facilitate those conversations where possible.
Youth Hunting & Fishing Opportunities: The Tennessee Wildlife Federation is dedicated to the conservation, sound use and enjoyment of Tennessee’s Great Outdoors. Thus, when TNSCTP first started, we placed an emphasis on bringing athletes full circle and getting them out in the field to enjoy the outdoors. We started with a few small hunts, and today, that program has grown to include several fishing opportunities, one of the country’s largest youth waterfowl hunts, two dove hunts, turkey hunts, squirrel hunts and other events. For 2017, we are continuing to expand the popular Youth Hunting & Fishing Program (now a separate and separately funded TWF program) by introducing our Hunt Master Program, where we train guides to take youth and their parents on 2 to 3-day hunting and fishing trips that include primitive camping and cooking.
The Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program (TNSCTP) is one of several programs offered by TWF. We believe that getting our youth into the shooting sports is the best way to transition them into the outdoors, and to help produce the next generation of outdoorsmen and women.
This is a special year for us because TWF is celebrating its 70th birthday! It’s amazing what this organization has accomplished over all those years. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read more about our programs at www.tnwf.org. Our site contains lots of videos, articles, photos, and other good stuff you can use… and you’ll likely see a lot of familiar faces!
TNSCTP continues to thrive, and we are committed to providing the best opportunities possible for our athletes. We’re looking forward to another great season and will look forward to seeing you soon. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or ideas.
JW, Andrew, and Stephen
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