The Derry Rod and Gun Club hosted 125 children for its annual Saturday Kids Day, an outdoor family event with plenty of sports and physical activities.
The event has picked up steam again this year after being suspended due to the pandemic.
Hosted at the club’s property in Township Derry, groups of children moved to nine different stations, including fishing boats, rifle shooting, archery and a rock climbing wall. 24 feet.
Marisa Bates came to the event before her children were even old enough to participate and considers it a “family day”. Her husband Mike was now organizing the event, but before that it was her father who helped organize the day.
The day is both a physical activity and a learning experience, and children are exposed to sports and activities they don’t see in their daily lives.
“While the Derry (school district) offers traditional sports, at the Rod and Gun Club the kids can enjoy the outdoors, fishing, boats and more,” Bates said.
On this day, many family members said they enjoyed showing their children how much fun they could have outside the home.
For 9-year-old Jaiden Simon, that excitement was felt stepping out of a canoe he and two other boys his age had just paddled around the lake.
“It was the best ever,” Jaiden said. “But I’m still waiting to do the (other stations).”
While he was initially worried the boat might overturn, Jaiden said he enjoyed being out there just talking and trying to pick up lily pads.
Besides climbing a rock wall and target shooting, the club had set up information zones throughout the property.
At the edge of the lake, working dogs, trained to fetch poultry, could be seen swimming in the lake towards decoys as children and adults watched as protesters guided the dogs to their target.
Under a pavilion, interaction became more hands-on as the children got closer to the reptiles.
Even the ranges, which included rifles, shotguns and .22 caliber muzzleloaders, began with gun safety rules and the importance of hearing and eye protection.
Although hosted by the Derry Rod and Gun Club, many sponsors have also contributed, ensuring that the children can experience the different opportunities the outdoors has to offer.