Florida 4-H Shooting Sports Level 1 Instructor Training & Certification—Volunteer Leader Training Series1

Julie P. Dillard, Heather C. Kent, and Julia S. Kelly 2

A successful county Shooting Sports program is not possible without screened and trained volunteers to lead clubs. Before instructing youth in any Shooting Sports discipline and/or assisting on the range, a volunteer must meet the Florida 4-H youth protection screening requirements and complete the Florida 4-H Shooting Sports Level 1 Instructor Training. Volunteers must be Level 1-certified to be on the range in any coaching capacity. Volunteers who are not certified as Level 1 instructors but have fulfilled the Florida 4-H youth protection screening requirements can fill other helpful roles determined by the Level 1-certified instructor. Trainings are discipline-specific in air rifle, small-bore rifle, archery, shotgun, muzzleloading, and hunting and are taught by National 4-H Shooting Sports Level 2 instructors.

Figure 1. 
Figure 1. 
Credit: Julia Kelly

Recruiting Volunteers

A minimum of two volunteers should be recruited to lead a Shooting Sports club. Additional volunteers may be needed to ensure an age-appropriate youth to adult ratio. Level 1 volunteers must be 21 or older in order to supervise a shooting range. Refer to the Florida 4-H Level 1 Shooting Sports Instructor job description outlined in this publication for duties and responsibilities.

Florida 4-H Shooting Sports Level 1 Instructor Training

The Level 1 Instructor Training provides 15 to 20 hours of training. A certified Level 2 trainer will administer the Level 1 training. The two parts of the training are:

Part One—4-H Shooting Sports Background: Background training in the philosophy of 4-H Shooting Sports, the role of Shooting Sports in positive youth development, risk management, and teaching techniques (may be completed face-to-face, online through e-Learning, or via live webinar).

Part Two—Range Training: Discipline-specific, hands-on field/practicum experience that covers safety, equipment use, range rules and procedures, setting up a range, and putting teaching techniques into practice. Homework assignments may be part of the course depending on the discipline and instructor. Homework must be submitted within two weeks after the training.

When training Shooting Sports volunteers, there are three options for Part One.

  1. Face-to-face training is held in a traditional classroom setting. This option allows learners to build relationships and create a support network. This can be completed in one long session or divided into multiple sessions over a couple of days or weeks.

  2. Webinar training is any live training held on the Internet. Webinars can be designed to disseminate information one-way or through interaction. Video, chat boxes, polls, and breakout discussion rooms can facilitate interaction depending on which delivery platform is used. Learners can participate from home with no travel required.

  3. e-Learning training, also known as computer-based or online training, is flexible and self-paced. e-Learning is accessible virtually any place and at any time if the learner has a computer, tablet, or smartphone with high-speed Internet access. Built-in quizzes immediately allow the learner to determine knowledge gained through the training. The Florida 4-H Level 1 Shooting Sports Training modules are available at florida.4honline.com.

Part Two of the Florida 4-H Level 1 Shooting Sports Instructor Training, the field practicum, will be held in a traditional face-to-face session. Both parts of the training must be complete before a volunteer can earn certification.

Level 1 Shooting Sports Instructor certification is valid for three years from the date of the hands-on practicum. 4-H agents should record when a volunteer completes the training in their 4HOnline profile.

Becoming Certified in Other Shooting Sports Disciplines

Once a volunteer completes Level 1 Shooting Sports Instructor Training in a specific discipline, he/she can earn certification in other disciplines by completing the appropriate hands-on field practicum.

Becoming Certified as a Level 2 Shooting Sports Instructor

Each year, a limited number of instructors from each state can be nationally certified as Level 2 instructors. Level 2 instructors must "train the trainer," or the Level 1 instructor. Volunteers must be recommended for Level 2 certification by their county 4-H agent. The 4-H agent should contact the Florida 4-H Shooting Sports specialist to recommend a volunteer for Level 2 certification.

4-H Volunteer Job Description

JOB TITLE: Florida 4-H Level 1 Shooting Sports Instructor

REPORTS TO: 4-H Agent

TIME COMMITMENT: One year. Re-enroll annually through florida.4honline.com.

JOB SUMMARY: Provide quality educational opportunities for youth while utilizing the 4-H Shooting Sports Curriculum in a safe and appropriate manner.

PEOPLE SUPERVISED: Adult and/or teen instructors as deemed appropriate. Other adult volunteers as needed or available. Minimum of 4 youth. Adult:Youth Ratio—1:4 Muzzleloading, 1:5 Shotgun, 1:10 Archery, 1:10 Air Rifle/Small-Bore Rifle

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. Attend all shooting club meetings and activities.

  2. Always be present when youth are actively using the shooting range.

  3. Teach the program following the National 4-H or State-supported 4-H curriculum as provided.

  4. Coach members on proper shooting techniques.

  5. Stress Shooting Sports safety.

  6. Actively encourage and support members.

  7. Supervise, direct, control, and counsel youth and volunteers in a safe, effective, and efficient manner.

  8. Delegate authority to other volunteers.

  9. Supervise and control the operation of the Shooting Sports facilities, range, and equipment, including firearms.

  10. Regularly inspect all Shooting Sports equipment, including individual or personal firearms and archery equipment.

  11. Help plan the yearly program.

  12. Help secure needed equipment and facilities.

  13. Administer an approved Risk Management Plan within established guidelines.

  14. Resolve complaints related to the Shooting Sports program. Refer unresolved complaints to the 4-H agent.

  15. Recruit club members and volunteers.

  16. Maintain club records and submit to the 4-H agent as requested.

  17. Publicize 4-H Shooting Sports activities and events.

  18. Encourage members to participate in other 4-H events and activities.

  19. Be familiar with current government and safety regulations on safe handling of firearms and related equipment.

  20. Participate in additional county or district volunteer trainings.

  21. Communicate regularly with the 4-H agent.

JOB REQUIREMENTS: Must maintain current discipline certification to be renewed every three years. Must be able to fulfill the duties described above.

AGE: Instructor: 21 and older Teen Instructor: 14–20 (must be in the presence of a Level 1 instructor; no range supervision allowed)

REQUIRES KNOWLEDGE OF:

  • Firearm operations and practices

  • 4-H policies and procedures

  • Safety and risk management procedures

  • Age-appropriate learning experiences

SKILL & ABILITIES:

  • Interpersonal skills with other instructors, volunteers, and participants

  • Management skills sufficient to perform proper inventory control, risk management, record keeping, and other duties as deemed necessary

  • Willingness to work hard to get the job done properly

RESOURCES TO BE PROVIDED:

  • 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor Training

  • 4-H Shooting Sports Curriculum

  • County and district volunteer training programs

4-H AGENT WILL PROVIDE:

  • Leadership training

  • Program and resource materials

  • Print or electronic communication to members and volunteers

  • County-wide activities open to all 4-H members

  • Grant writing support

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: Must have a working knowledge of firearms, a basic understanding of archery equipment, a desire to help youth develop, and the ability to successfully complete the Florida 4-H volunteer screening process.

DISCLAIMER: This job description indicates the general level of work expected and is not designed to cover every activity. Instructors may be asked to perform other duties as needed.

Footnotes

1. This document is 4HFSV371, one of a series of the 4-H Youth Development Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date January 2018. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Julie P. Dillard, CED, Extension agent II, 4-H Youth Development Department, UF/IFAS Extension Washington County; Heather C. Kent, RSA, Extension agent III, 4-H Youth Development Department, UF/IFAS Northwest Extension District; and Julia S. Kelly, Extension agent I, 4-H Youth Development Department, UF/IFAS Extension St. Johns County; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.