U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation
801 Kingsmill Parkway, Columbus, OH 43229
Ph. 614/888-4868 Fax 614/888-0326
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Beth Ruth (614) 888-4868 ext. 214
Oct. 12, 2007 Frank Price (614) 888-4868 ext. 202
Trailblazer Introduces Outdoor Lifestyle to Half-Million Youth & Families
(Columbus) – The Trailblazer Adventure Program has opened the door to the out-of-doors for more than 500,000 young people and their families, nationwide. The largest outdoor youth program of its kind, Trailblazer is giving the shooting sports and America’s hunting heritage a shot in the arm at a time when hunting participation is on the downswing.
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF) developed the Trailblazer Adventure Program to raise awareness and participation in outdoor sports. The program allows seasoned sportsmen, wildlife professionals and industry experts to provide families hands-on firearm and archery lessons, fishing instruction, trapping demonstrations and more. Through its Trailmaster mentoring aspect, families learn even more about the outdoor sports from seasoned sportsmen and sportswomen.
“We are celebrating a milestone this October,” said Mary Cabela, Trailblazer Adventure Program chairwoman and co-founder of Cabela’s, Inc., the world’s foremost outfitter. “Trailblazer has crossed a threshold as more than a half-million children and families have experienced the program and learned how to safely use firearms, fishing rods, and other outdoor equipment since its inception in 2001. I am very proud of this accomplishment and congratulate the USSA staff and volunteers for their outstanding contribution to the outdoor lifestyle.”
Providing families and youngsters with opportunities to learn about and get involved in outdoor activities is critical to the future of shooting sports and fishing. Research by the National Sporting Goods Association shows a 19 percent decline in the number of 12 to 17-year-olds who have fished since 1997. Similar declines have been found in other outdoor activities, including hunting, and even basketball and biking. There is a dramatic shift towards indoor recreation as kids opt to play video games and watch television.
“The USSAF recognizes that shrinking youth participation in outdoor activities is translating into a shrinking sportsman population,” said Bud Pidgeon, USSAF president. “Trailblazer’s participation milestone shows that the program is on track to help salvage outdoor sports.”
The USSAF targets entire families with its program. Moms and dads are encouraged to participate along with their children.
“Trailblazer encourages family involvement in the outdoors,” said Pidgeon. “Youth are often the first to be sold when they shoulder a BB gun, but when parents discover that outdoor sports are family-oriented, fun and conservation-based, they too become strong advocates.”
Others within the outdoor industry also applaud Trailblazer’s success.
“The shooting sports industry continues to support the Trailblazer Adventure Program because it is showing measurable results," saidChris Dolnack, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). "Trailblazer is really making a difference in the promotion of America's shooting and hunting traditions."
The NSSF is a major supporter and it endorses Trailblazer through its STEP OUTSIDE Program.
The USSAF attributes Trailblazer’s nationwide success to partnerships with youth-serving organizations such as Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, Campfire USA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, and Girls Incorporated. It also works in partnership with the Big Game Hunters Foundation; Foundation for North American Wild Sheep; Fur Takers of America; Kentucky Fur Takers Association; Masters of Foxhounds Association of America; National Rifle Association Foundation; National Shooting Sports Foundation; National Wild Turkey Federation chapters; Ohio Division of Wildlife; Safari Club International Foundation; Safari Club International, NY Tri-State Chapter; Shikar Safari Club International Foundation; U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit; West Virginia Division of Natural Resources; state wildlife agencies and local sportsmen’s clubs.
The USSAF Trailblazer Adventure Program has been honored with the Take Pride in America® award by the Dept. of Interior for its leadership in recruiting youth and families to the experiences of hunting and fishing and for teaching them about outdoor activities and conservation. The USSAF is one of the Take Pride in America Charter Partners, who work to improve public lands, historic sites and other recreation areas.
Trailblazer sponsors include the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Bushnell Performance Optics, Cabela’s, Charles Daly, Crosman, North Fork Bancorporation and The Outdoor Channel. Additional support comes from the Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation; Bicknell Fund; William H. Flowers Jr. Foundation; Hampe Family Foundation; The Hearst Foundations, Inc.; JCK Foundation; and McBean Family Foundation.
For more information about the Trailblazer Adventure program, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.trailblazeradventure.org.
The USSAF protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. It is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.
The NSSF is the professional trade association for the firearms industry. Formed in 1961, it manages a variety of public outreach programs with a special emphasis on promoting gun safety and participation in shooting sports.
Cabela’s is the World's Foremost Outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear. The leader in the outdoor equipment business, it has grown and prospered from simple beginnings to become the largest mail-order, retail and Internet outdoor outfitter in the world.
Shikar Safari Club International Foundation is an exclusive organization that supports conservation and education through a worldwide foundation. It works to enhance and preserve wildlife, and has placed particular emphasis on endangered and threatened species through the promotion of enforcement of conservation laws and regulations.
Founded by outdoorsmen for outdoorsmen, The Outdoor Channel, a key contributor to Trailblazer, features quality programming designed to educate and entertain sportsmen of all skill levels. The channel promotes the traditional outdoor activities that are a vital part of our national heritage including fishing, hunting and shooting. To subscribe to the Outdoor Channel, contact your local cable provider, or satellite providers - Dish network, or Direct TV.