Mike Raahauge’s Shooting Complex in Southern California hosted the 18th Annual Youth Safari day with more than 4,000 youngsters and adults attending. It was a wonderful way for families to spend a day experiencing the great outdoors and enjoying a wide variety of outdoor skills and events.
“There was something for everyone who attended this year’s Youth Outdoor Safari Day to enjoy some kind of an outdoor adventure,” said Dennis Anderson, chair and originator of the event. “There were kayaks to float around a big tule-ringed pond; there was expert instruction on proper handling of a shotgun and .22 caliber rifle under the expert guidance by the staff of Turner’s Outdoorsman; kids learned to make a functioning quail call; a hands-on experience with working gun dogs; climb a rock mountain; learn to fish and cast; watch some great shotgunning skills and be exposed to a variety of wildlife by way of the Safari Club Wild Animal exhibit trailer and live animal petting arena.
“We set a new record this year by increasing our attendance by at least 10 percent, of which there were many returning kids from previous Youth Safari Days. I really think that everyone was very glad to be there and we are now looking at hosting second generation families. The support from both the L.A. and Orange County chapters of Safari Club International, the many volunteers from conservation groups, support from many companies who donated raffle items and those in the shooting sports and fishing industry have all come together to make this a very rewarding outdoor experience for everyone,” Anderson explained.
Alvin Soto of San Diego brought his two boys to the event for the second year in a row and offered the following about attending this year’s event: “My youngest son David, 10 years old, didn’t get to shoot a shotgun last year and all he talked about this past year was being able to shoot with a Turner’s Outdoorsman safety instructor and he did finally bust a clay target.”
Walking around this event, it was evident that youngsters were really having a great time as many of them were pulling their parents around from location to location and patiently waiting in lines to participate in a wide variety of shooting and other outdoor related booths. Some of the kids were just toddlers, but there were also many teenagers present.
“It’s been nearly 20 years in the development of Youth (Outdoor) Safari Day and there are many of the original committee members still participating in this special event. It has grown so big over the years, thanks to the commitment of volunteers and supporters, that new supporters are jumping in to assist with setup, registration, online promotions and other functions that make this outdoor event so popular,” stated Anderson.
Raahauge’s Shooting Enterprises is the ideal location to host Youth Safari Day with its many shade trees, plenty of green grass, ponds, shotgun and rifle shooting stations and covered eating areas. Next year, the 19th Annual Youth Safari Day will be held on July 15. For additional information on the event, to make donations of time and outdoor gear or just to book reservations to attend next summer’s event, log-on to their website at youthsafariday.com.–Jim Niemiec