Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association to hold fundraising shoot for youth outdoor education
In a time when gathering indoors is discouraged, people of all ages are showing a greater interest in outdoor activities — and one determined organization has found a way to help make even more of these experiences possible for Pennsylvania youth.
The Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association is hosting a Sporting Clays & Wobble Trap Shoot on Sunday, April 11 to fund its Kermit Henning Youth Education Grant Program, which offers financial support to Keystone state clubs and organizations hosting educational outdoor events for kids.
“Education has always been at the core of POWA, whether for its members, outdoor enthusiasts or the general public,” POWA Executive Director Paula Piatt said. “Youth education is particularly important; a generation that understands and appreciates the outdoors will work to protect it in the future.”
The grant fund’s major source of income traditionally has been the annual Sportsmen’s Auction at the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg. With the show’s 2021 cancellation, POWA is now inviting shooters to enjoy a day at Martz’s Gap View Hunting Preserve, Dalmatia, where the 75-round shoot will be held.
“The Martz’s have always been supportive to the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association and their Harrisburg show auctions by regularly donating pheasant hunts,” POWA Fundraising Chairman Dennis Scharadin said. “When asked if we could hold a sporting clay/wobble trap shoot at Martz’s to raise money in lieu of the auction, they immediately said, “Let’s do it.”
Shooters are invited to register now at powa-shoot.eventbrite.com. The registration fee is $45. There will be raffles and light beverages available throughout the day. Pre-registered shooters will be entered into a grand prize drawing.
On-site check in and registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with rounds starting at 9 a.m. Registration will remain open until 1:30 p.m. so that rounds can be completed by 3 p.m. Shooters are invited to attend throughout the day, and all proceeds benefit the grant fund.
“POWA’s grant program started in 1988 with primary funding coming from the Harrisburg Sportsmen’s Show auctions,” Scharadin explained. “Kermit Henning, Lou Hoffman and a few others were instrumental in organizing those first auctions. Since then, hundreds of organizations have received grants and thousands of children have attended the outdoor programs supported by this fund, with Kermit being the driving force behind it.”
Henning was a Life Member of POWA and the catalyst for the organization’s youth education efforts. He worked tirelessly organizing auctions for over three decades to raise money for youth education, serving as auction chairman until he became ill in 2019. The grant program was renamed in Henning’s honor after his passing in 2020.
More than $420,000 has been raised for and distributed to youth education activities throughout Pennsylvania, and POWA is grateful to still be able to host a fundraiser this year, even if it will be done differently than in the past. The need is more pressing now than ever.
“Those sportsmen’s clubs and other organizations need the grants to help fund their activities, especially this year due to Covid restrictions shutting down their money-making activities,” Scharadin said.
“When faced with the cancellation of our main funding stream for the Kermit Henning Youth Education Grant program, my thoughts immediately went to Kermit and how he always found a way to get things done, especially when it comes to the kids and the future of conservation and the outdoors,” Piatt added.
The shoot is presented by sponsor Kline Associates Ltd. of Harrisburg and is being hosted by Martz’s Gap View Hunting Preserve. Targets for the day are being provided by White Flyer Clay Targets.
“It’s a privilege to be able to help put together this fundraiser — for the kids and in Kermit’s memory,” Piatt said.