I have a mission. That mission is to create more positive publicity about the shooting community. I often read complaints about the negative press we receive. There are many reasons for that. One is just that the media is going to go for the story that is going to get the most attention. Somebody shoots someone? Big story. You went to the range? Not so much. Another reason could be we do not put ourselves out there when we do something great. I want to share the stories of those in our community who go above and beyond in their efforts. If you or someone you know, has a story you'd like to share please contact me and I would love to help put the word out!
Recently some of the chapters of A Girl and A Gun have taken it upon themselves to start fundraising for different organizations. The Dallas chapter of AG&AG, led by Tamara Shelley, issued a friendly challenge to the Houston chapter, led by Tracy Hughes, to see who could raise the most for a cause or causes of their choice. These ladies are setting a stellar example of how we can give back to those around us. What they are doing should be both promoted and applauded! And the giving is contagious as more chapters are inspired to band their efforts together towards a cause. This is the first of two articles highlighting some of their efforts.
The following are the words of Tracy Hughes. Besides being the Chapter Facilitator for the Greater Houston are A Girl and A Gun Chapter, Tracy is an NRA Certified Range Instructor and Range Safety Officer, the founder of Highlander Readiness Training and Consulting, and an instructor for Women's Safety Academy Texas. Her blog can be found at http://www.istheshooterready.com/
I was actually inspired by the Dallas Chapter. I had never really thought about fundraising as a group until I read about Tamara Shelley doing it. Then Tamara and I talked and put together the Charity Shoot competition between Houston and Dallas. At each event each month, we did a separate competition with all the funds going towards a charity. The goal was to be the chapter that raised the most money for their charity. Houston got the bragging rights but not by much and the charities are the real winners. Our charity for this was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
We picked the Leukemia Lymphoma Society because the owner of our host range has been battling this cancer for several years. (At the time of this interview, Mr. James had taken a turn for the worst and was not expected to survive. Our thoughts are with him and his family.) We wanted to show that we appreciated our range owners by raising funds for a cause that was near and dear to them.
We chose the Girls on the Run as our charity for the Gritty Goddess Mud Run. We were limited to 3 charities to fund raise for and the Girls on the Run was the closest fit, I thought, to the A Girl and A Gun vision. The organization uses the sport of running to teach at risk girls about leadership and empowerment much like we use the sport of shooting to teach girls (and women) the same things.
Recognizing Extraordinary Efforts
It was and continues to be an amazing experience watching the gals come together and be so generous. When we were doing the Charity Shoot, some participants were chipping in $10 and only taking 2 or 3 targets and just donating the rest. It was heartwarming.
With our upcoming event, one of the ladies has really stepped out and gotten creative. Jenna Contenta came up with the idea about approaching The Paint Pub (www.thepaintpub.com) about doing an event for us. She's taking care of everything, coordination with the host, picking a design for the participants to paint. Just think what we could do if more ladies reached out like this with the "power" of the AG&AG chapter behind them.
A Little Advice in Planning Your Own Event
Don't make it complicated because it's really not. Pick, Plan, Promote, Participate. Pick a charity, Plan the fundraiser, Promote what you're doing, Participate in the event. It doesn't always have to be big! Every little bit helps the charities out there that are struggling in the current economy.
Still Ahead and How You Can Help
In addition to the website where anyone can contribute to Team AG&AG, the Paint Pub is hosting a fundraiser for us as well. On September 20th, as many as 50 participants can attend a painting session at The Paint Pub, with 40% of the proceeds going to Girls on the Run. In October, we plan to raise funds through Bullritos. If customers will use a flyer when they order, we'll get 10% of the total order going to our charity.
I think these are excellent ways to get our name out in the community. By doing that, I hope we accomplish 2 things in addition to raising funds for our charities, educate the community that gun owners are not scary AND introduce more women to our organization.
Donate to Team AG&AG at https://fundraising.active.com/fundraiser/TeamAG_AG
For more info on the Houston Chapter of A Girl and A Gun, please visit http://www.agirlandagunclub.com/houston.html