By Morgan Taylor, Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Ag Youth Program is seeking to apply for the Oklahoma Scholastic Shooting Sports Program (OKSSSP) funds through the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The OKSSSP is a trap-based shotgun program that focuses on providing an environment that is safe and fun for seventh to twelfth graders. The funding provides coverage for the cost of a kit that includes a gun safe, target thrower, 20 boxes of targets, 20 pairs of safety glasses, and 600 pair of earplugs. The cost of the kit is around $2,000.00. Kits are only available for high school level teams.
On Aug 11, the Land, Resources and Cultural Preservation Committee passed TR 20-142 which is the legislation authorizing the Principal to Chief to execute a cooperative agreement-pass through federal assistance grant application with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Director of MCN Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Trent Kissee spoke to the committee about the grant funds and what they would be used for if awarded the funds.
‘We are looking to add to the Ag Youth Program a shooting sports component to go along with our archery for students that are already engaged with their FFA or 4-H shooting sports clave program, shot gun sports,’ Kissee said. ‘This grant would allow us to partner with the state to provide training, PPE, and also provide a clay pigeon thrower which is about $1,000. Thankfully we have already identified some funds to go along with this program.’
When legislation TR 20-142 came up in the Regular Session it passed with flying colors in a 14-0 vote of the National Council with Rep. Travis Scott absent. The MCN Ag Youth Program manager Billy Haltom says this will allow the Ag Youth Program to offer shotgun sports.
“The legislation allows us to go ahead and move forward in the direction of having skeet and track shooting,” Haltom said. “Skeet and track shooting have become so popular in the school system 4-H and FFA that it become one the biggest activities these organizations are having. We were never to help our Creek youth due to some legislative problems but now that is all taken care of were looking not to only put on some competitions but have our own program where our creek youth will be able to come up and use our equipment including shotguns, clay pigeons and thrower under the supervision of myself and another trained adult.”
Most students are already involved in this program through their own 4-H and FFA chapters without the support of the Nation, however should they receive this grant it will allow them to receive more education and training in the skill.
“The initial $2,000 dollars will provide a little bit of education for me and one other person to become certified in that area and purchase equipment,” Haltom said. “That’s going to include our skeet thrower, clay pigeon, and shotgun shells and what we need to get our program set up.”
The Ag Youth Program has other portions to the program to assist participants in various areas. The Livestock Assistance Program helps the purchase of a livestock animal for participants with reimbursement up to $500.
“Our biggest thing is our livestock showing program,” Haltom said. “Everything we do is on reimbursement, but we will give a student up to $500 to purchase some type of livestock. We also put on the Creek Nation All-Indian Livestock Show for the students as well in Jan every year.”
Other programs include the archery assistance, leadership training assistance and poultry program assistance. Each of these programs provide reimbursements of purchases up to different amounts depending on the program.
“The Agriculture Youth Program is set up to help our Creek youth to better participate in both 4-H and FFA,” Haltom said. “Our goal of this program is to have our Creek youth become more involved in both 4-H and FFA for leadership activities, livestock showings and the other things that go along with those two organizations.”
For questions about the MCN Ag Youth Program or questions on how to apply for this program or any of the portion programs can contact Billy Haltom at (918) 732-7628 or via e-mail at email@example.com