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Youth learn to hit targets
Students head for competition in the capital

Sarah Ladik
Northern News Services
Thursday, May 12, 2016

Not every youth centre encourages children to shoot guns on its premises but the Inuvik Youth Centre is not your average organization.

NNSL photo/graphic

Rick Lindsay, left, supervises as Delaney Arey and Christine Day take aim at the targets set up at the far end of the room May 5. - Sarah Ladik/NNSL photos

"It's been very good," said shooting instructor Rick Lindsay May 5. "We've got little kids who are good with the guns now. Safety is the priority."

Each week, children at the Inuvik Youth Centre get to practise their target shooting with two members of the Top of the World Sporting Association, which sponsors the program. Typically, about 30 children turn out for it, but a handful have taken it to the next level and are heading to Yellowknife for a territorial competition this weekend.

This will be the second such competition for Delaney Arey. She shoots regularly, having started doing so in the youth centre program a few years ago. She said it could be scary when she first started, because she was younger, but now she just enjoys it.

"This is something I'm good at," she told the Drum. "I'm looking forward to seeing my friends from Yellowknife, too."

There are some differences, however, between shooting at the centre and shooting in competition in the city. First and foremost, at territorials there is no noise, which Arey said makes it easier to concentrate. While she didn't place last time she was there, she said she has hopes of doing better this time around.

"I'm just going to test my skills and have a good time," she said.

Lindsay said children can start shooting at nine years old and that safety is always the top concern.

He said they have asked children to leave when they have failed to listen to instructions and have done anything remotely disrespectful with the airguns.

Still, despite - or perhaps because of - the high standards, many children turn out each week for the activity.

Lindsay said the program is one of the easiest ways to get to competition and that the territorials are a gateway to other opportunities.

"If they're successful in Yellowknife, they can move on to nationals and if they do well at nationals, the Olympic team will snap them up," he said.

"To be good at this, it's a big open door. All you have to do is walk through."

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