Author Topic: A Students Journey: My Path to Instructing  (Read 1662 times)

Offline Trisha

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A Students Journey: My Path to Instructing
« on: March 10, 2014, 12:55:43 PM »
"Always keep the muzzle in a safe direction!" I call out to my shooters as I walk down the firing line, making sure all are safe. This is my job, this is what I do. I am a twenty-seven year old woman, a wife, a mom, a teacher, and now a Shoot Boss who runs a rifle marksmanship  and Heritage program called Appleseed. It's still crazy for me to think that only six years ago I was that person who was timid around firearms and now I'm in charge of teaching others to learn to shoot.

It all started back in 2008 when my in-laws were attending an event called Project Appleseed. I paid no attention to it. I was not a shooter and I didn't grow up around firearms, so spending a weekend shooting sounded boring to me and not worth my time. Then on my mother-in-law's birthday in July she bought us kids some presents: shooting glasses, earplugs, and even a box of .22 ammo. I remember her telling us that she really wanted us to go with to the Appleseed at Winona, MN in September, which is about a three hour drive for us. Since she bought us some supplies and offered to pay for our hotel room, I figured why not? September rolled around and  my husband was called out on storm work because Hurricane Gustav hit the Golf Coast. This meant I would have to go to a weekend of shooting without him. This made me nervous, he is my safety net and he wouldn't be there to help me if I needed it.

When we reached the range Saturday morning, my heart fluttered and I remember telling myself to take a deep breath and calm down. After the safety briefing given by the instructors we were allowed to bring our rifles to the firing line, uncase them and make them safe. The Shoot Boss walked down the line checking all the rifles and when he got to me he stopped and asked, "Do you know how to work your rifle?"

"I know where the trigger is!" I responded with a grin.

That's where I started, knowing where the trigger was. I was afraid to uncase my rifle, afraid I might bump it and something "bad" would happen. That's what happens in the movies right? You drop the firearm and it goes off? Well that's kind of what I believed would happen, so to touch one was frightening to me.

I struggled that weekend. On Saturday I used stock Ruger 10/22 with it's leaf sights, not an easy sight to use since it is putting the brass dot above the diamond then onto the target. Even though aligning the sights was difficult for me, I did begin to learn what I needed to do to make my rifle safe and how to prepare a magazine and load it. That may not sound like a big accomplishment, but for someone who started the weekend only knowing which direction to point the rifle all the way to learning how to handle my rifle safely and properly was a big step.

Sunday morning I woke up extremely sore. I could barely move, and my body clearly wasn't used to this sort of thing. We arrived at the range we started shooting. I started off okay, but this time I was using a Ruger 10/22 with scope, hoping to make it a little easier for me to make a good grouping, but unfortunately, the more I tried the more frustrated I became. About halfway through the day, I did a transition from standing to seated. I moved quickly into the correct position, but everything in my sight picture went black! I couldn't see anything through the scope. I wiggled around, and still nothing. Then I heard, "Cease Fire! Cease Fire! Cease Fire!" At that point, I set my rifle down and tried to hold back tears. I didn't understand what was happening, but I knew I wanted to walk away. I made my rifle safe, stood up and tried to get away from the firing line.  

The Shoot Boss happened to walk by me and asked, "How did that one go? I've noticed you've been doing pretty well with seated." Forcefully giving a half smile I replied, "Not good." I walked by him but was stopped again, this time by a friend who came with us that weekend. He asked what was wrong, so I told him what happened. By the time I was done, I had two instructors next to me, trying to calm me down. One instructor, Cindy, knew exactly what I was doing wrong. She sat me down in the seated position and told me what I needed to do. If it weren't for everybody caring enough I would have walked away and probably never have come back. The next time I had the opportunity to do the seated position I did exactly what she told me and sure enough, I could see! I was so relieved, happy even that I was able to shoot again in this position.

Throughout the day we continued to shoot Army Qualification Tests(AQTs) for score to see where we rank up. Basically it was to see if we were a "cook" or a Rifleman(expert). I did improve throughout the weekend, but was nowhere near the elusive 210 out of a possible 250, which is the score needed to reach Rifleman. Since I didn't score Rifleman in Winona, I knew I would need to go to another Appleseed. It took me two more Appleseeds, one in Lodi, WI and then one in Knob Creek, KY to finally score above a 210! I made Rifleman! Achieving this was something that I earned, I worked hard and learned a lot in the process. It took a bit of practice and a couple of small tips from my father-in-law Tony, to get me over that hump and past the 210 mark.  

The understanding of what all the instructors were teaching me finally all came together and clicked in my head. I was happy that it took me three Appleseeds (six days of being out at the range) to score Rifleman because it helped me grow as a shooter and as a person. What I learned in those three weekends was being a true Rifleman didn't stop after the weekend was over. A true Rifleman doesn't give up on what she believes in. A true Rifleman continues to fight to improve our country, to not let our forefathers down.

Even though I learned a bit about how to shoot properly, I still never thought I would be capable of instructing. I didn't know very much about the different rifles. And really, who would listen to a twenty-two year old woman? One day in the beginning of Spring in 2009, a bunch of us were at my in-laws house out back practicing our shooting. I was lying next to my husband's aunt when I looked over and saw her struggling with her rifle, so I made my rifle safe and helped her as if it were a natural thing to do. Afterwards, we went back into the house and my father-in-law grinned and practically stapled an orange instructor in training hat on my head. He said I was ready to become an instructor.

I still almost refused to accept the hat, but I loved the history part of Appleseed. For example, one woman Hannah Davis let her husband Isaac go and fight for our right to be free even though they had four children, two of them were possibly dying of an illness. She let him go expecting to never see him alive again. She is why I kept the hat. She is why I began to instruct. I wanted to tell the world her story. I want people to remember the sacrifices made to build this country, to have a free country filled with Liberty.

The more I go to Appleseeds, the more I love it, and the more I learn. I have been an Appleseed Instructor now for about five years. I went through the instructor-in-training to become a full instructor and then when I was given a friendly nudge, I went through the Shoot Boss in training to become a full time Shoot Boss.

I have enjoyed all of my Appleseeds, but my favorites have always been the Ladyseeds. These are Appleseeds solely for women. They are a blast. The last one I was at was in River Falls, WI. Women came smiling, some nervous, but everyone excited. I was there to share in their frustrations, their successes and their smiles. This is why I instruct, teaching people, especially women, to safely and successfully handle a rifle. I get to watch them grow as a person in one weekend and they leave with smiles on their faces. They have bettered themselves in two days and they know it. I get to continue to see these changes in people every weekend I have an opportunity to instruct. This is because I am a twenty-seven year old woman: a wife, a mom, a teacher, and a Shoot Boss.

Offline fisherdawg

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Re: A Students Journey: My Path to Instructing
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2014, 05:25:55 PM »
Trisha,
Wow. Excellent article.  I type this with misty eyes and a lump in my throat after reading your words.  Well done. It is an honor to be on the Appleseed Trail with folks like you. Liberty will surely prevail with the likes of Trisha on the line!
Very best regards,
fisherdawg
 :cool2:
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. (James Madison)

"Young man, what we meant in going for those Redcoats was this: we always had governed ourselves and we always meant to. They didn't mean we should."
(Captain Levi Preston, of the Danvers militia, at age 91, remembering the day)

That it is an indispensable duty which we owe to God, our country, ourselves and posterity, by all lawful ways and means in our power to maintain, defend and preserve those civil and religious rights and liberties, for which many of our fathers fought, bled and died, and to hand them down entire to future generations.  Suffolk Resolves, September 9, 1774, attributed to Dr. Joseph Warren

Offline Necee

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Re: A Students Journey: My Path to Instructing
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2014, 07:52:33 PM »
 O0

Thank You!!!

Offline Engineer shooting

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Re: A Students Journey: My Path to Instructing
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2014, 11:22:04 PM »
You left off writer in your description of your self what a great post!   O0 O0
If I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree.        Martin Luther

Offline Trisha

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Re: A Students Journey: My Path to Instructing
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2014, 11:46:44 PM »
Thanks All!

Engineer this is my first official writing...only wrote papers back in college! Lol

Online Minutemom

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Re: A Students Journey: My Path to Instructing
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 03:36:45 PM »
Awesome, Trisha - so inspiring!  I had a similar experience at my first Appleseed, so thank goodness for the kindness and patience of the intructors.  Thanks for sharing your story.
Chris
Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains." - Patrick Henry

The American Constitution is remarkable for its simplicity; but can only suffice a people habitually correct in their actions, and would be utterly inadequate to the wants of a different nation.  Change the domestic habits of the Americans, their religious devotion, and their high respect for morality, and it will not be necessary to change a single letter in the Constitution in order to vary the whole form of their government. - Francis Grund 1837

"In the prevailing political theory of the founding era, the family was considered one of the essential pillars of republican virtue, and it not only needed to be nurtured, but also protected from the tyranny of the government.... American revolutionaries and their descendants understood marriage and the family to be schools of republican virtue. -Mary Lyndon Shanley, Review Essay, 27 Law & Soc. Inq. 923, 926

Offline North Country Lady

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Re: A Students Journey: My Path to Instructing
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2014, 06:44:47 PM »
What grade do you teach?
I am a retired educator, and love doing the history.
I canot instruct in marksmanship, because I am in a wheelchair, but I have shot rifleman, with modifications. It rook me more than 3 Appleseeds to do that though.
Congratulations, and keep up the good work.



Offline fisherdawg

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Re: A Students Journey: My Path to Instructing
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2014, 06:54:54 PM »
What grade do you teach?
I am a retired educator, and love doing the history.
I canot instruct in marksmanship, because I am in a wheelchair, but I have shot rifleman, with modifications. It rook me more than 3 Appleseeds to do that though.
Congratulations, and keep up the good work.

North Country Lady,
You may want to consider the LibertySeed Story Teller volunteer path too.  Please check out the Forum at LibertySeed.org -- it's part of RWVA.  I've attached the Volunteer PC and the Story Teller Promotion guide.  It's sounds like it's right up your alley!
 ;D
fisherdawg
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. (James Madison)

"Young man, what we meant in going for those Redcoats was this: we always had governed ourselves and we always meant to. They didn't mean we should."
(Captain Levi Preston, of the Danvers militia, at age 91, remembering the day)

That it is an indispensable duty which we owe to God, our country, ourselves and posterity, by all lawful ways and means in our power to maintain, defend and preserve those civil and religious rights and liberties, for which many of our fathers fought, bled and died, and to hand them down entire to future generations.  Suffolk Resolves, September 9, 1774, attributed to Dr. Joseph Warren