Annual Youth Safari Day in Southern California next July. It may focus on kids, but adults find that it is an amazing way for the whole family to enjoy the shooting sports together. Traditions literally come alive for all.
To see that unmistakable sparkle in the eyes of a youngster, who, with curious trepidation, extends but the very tip of only one finger, ever-so-lightly and most tentatively touches the feathers of a live hawk perched on the arm of a falconer. To see the exuberance of a young person who takes careful aim and then hits the target for the first time. To see the instinctive full body recoil when a youngster, who has just caught his or her first fish, try to take it off the hook as it simultaneously slips and then flips from the small hand. All of these and more are but brief glimpses, allowing one to see into the future of hunting and outdoor recreation throughout the land. At SCI‚Äôs Youth Safari Day, the future looks bright and promising.
This coming July 21 will mark the 20th Annual Youth Safari Day, a full-day event put on each year by the Orange County and Los Angeles Chapters of Safari Club International.
SCI Past President Dennis Anderson, one of the originators of the event, said he expects to see at least 500 more people attend the 20th anniversary YSD than were there this past year for the 19th when more than 4,000, including over 2,500 of whom were youths, enjoy the roughly 40 events and exhibits.
YSD is held each year at Raahauge‚Äôs Shooting Enterprises facilities in Norco, a semi-rural/suburban community roughly 50 miles inland from downtown Los Angeles.
Twenty years ago, Anderson and Mike Raahauge, owner of Raahauge‚Äôs Shooting Enterprises, hatched the concept of YSD and, with the help of volunteers from the two SCI chapters, put on the inaugural event that saw a few hundred parents and their children (between 600 and 700 total) attend. It was a rousing success and, as is said, the rest is history.
Now, Patrick Raahauge, Mike‚Äôs son, carries on the legacy that keeps growing. Each year, YSD sees various personalities attend, ranging from Expedition Safari TV host Mike Rogers Jr. to U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert (R- CA). And Linc Raahauge‚Äôs hounds get the youngsters fired up as they chase some scented fur across water and up into a tree. Of the original YSD committee, there were three remaining at this past year‚Äôs event: Dennis Anderson, Dan Fox and Chuck Walker.
‚ÄúThis coming year, we‚Äôre going to beef it up,‚Äù Anderson said shortly after the 19th annual YSD ended. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre going to have more stuff for the kids.‚Äù
More stuff? This past year, they gave away 156 BB guns, 50 fishing rod-and-reel outfits and 50 archery kits. In addition to those kinds of things, Anderson said that for the 20th anniversary, they also will have actual backpacks stitched with the YSD logo for the kids.
‚ÄúIt was a great event this year,‚Äù he explained. ‚ÄúIt went really smoothly‚Ä¶Our committee (comprised on only 10 to 12 volunteers each year) is really small. Things go almost on auto pilot.‚Äù
Putting on the event is anything but automatic.
‚ÄúThis year was kind of unique,‚Äù Anderson said of the 2017 YSD, noting that the National Rifle Association came through with 20 volunteers, one of whom was connected with the U.S. Marine Corps ‚Äì who supplied 54 Marine Corps volunteers, for a total of 74 to help with the .22 rifles at the event.
The 34 .22 rifles were in use constantly throughout the day, and youngsters shot more than 30,000 rounds of .22 long rifle ammo in the various shooting booths. Winchester donated the .22 rimfire ammo via Dooley Enterprises.
And one venue that is packed from beginning to end is the shotgun shooting clay target area sponsored and conducted by Turner‚Äôs Outdoorsman stores. Turner‚Äôs is a major part of the shooting sports community in California, and a major supporter of YSD each year.
Even lunch is a big deal at YSD.
‚ÄúThey charge for lunch and more than 2,500 In-N-Out burgers were served during the event,‚Äù Anderson said. ‚ÄúThere were three trucks serving the burgers, and the burger bill was $11,000. YSD also buys cookies, chips and water to round out the lunches.‚Äù
‚ÄúThere are second generation kids going to YSD now,‚Äù Anderson explained. ‚ÄúThere is a wide range of kids who participate. Also, some mothers also like to shoot, too.
‚ÄúWhen I was a kid, my granddad had me shoot a shotgun,‚Äù he added. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs pulling that trigger‚Äù that gets them hooked.
When events go on for decades, it is necessary every few years to replace items that are used heavily.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre having to replace some of the stuff like kayaks ‚Äì bought four new ones this year and are running 12 constantly during the event,‚Äù Anderson said, noting that YSD had purchased 35 .22 rifles with proceeds from the event and use them every year.
- JIM MATTHEWS-QUAIL MAKING CALLS
- CLAY TARGET SHOOTING
- DECOY PAINTING
- DUCK, QUAIL, TURKEY CALLING
- FIREARM SAFETY
- HANDGUN SHOOTING
- HORSEBACK EXHIBITIONS
- LASER SHOOTING
- RIFLE TARGET SHOOTING (.22 CAL.)
- RAFFLES FOR KIDS & ADULTS
- TRICK SHOOTING
- TURNERS OUTDOORS
- BB GUN SHOOTING GALLERY
- ROD & REEL CASTING EVENTS
- DOG DEMONSTRATIONS
- FISHING- 1000‚ÄôS OF FISH PLANTED
- LEARN TO CLEAN AND COOK FISH
- PAINT BALL GAMES
- ROCK CLIMBING WALL
- NATURE WALK – BIRD WATCHING
- ANIMAL EXHIBITS
- ANIMAL PETTING ZOO
Plan to attend the 20th annual Youth Safari Day July 21,2018. For more information, visit www.youthsafariday.com.