Educational Gun Program Empowers Alaskan Teen Girls
Gun enthusiast Elaina Spraker came up with the idea to start a gun training course back in 2009 that would teach young women about gun safety and how to shoot.
Spraker came up with the idea when she asked her son if his female friends enjoyed going to the gun range just as much as he and his male friends did. After realizing that most of the girls just stayed back and watched them shoot, she decided to do something about it.
“What we discovered in the years from then until now, is an amazing thing that has happened with these women is just the strength and empowerment and what it does to their self esteem,” Spraker told the Peninsula Clarion.
Spraker’s firearms training program, called Teens on Target, is supported by Friends of the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International and the Snowshoe Gun Club.
The eight week course takes young women ages 13-17 and teaches them basics about gun safety and how to shoot different types of guns such as shotguns, handguns and rifles. Those that want to take part in the course only have to pay $35 to join. Guns and ammunition are donated by Spraker and her husband.
Participants in the program learn to properly disassemble and clean a firearm. Spraker also stresses the importance of renting and testing a firearm before purchasing it.
The course was originally supposed to be a one-off course, but she found that it is better if teenage girls join the program at a young age and come back year after year until they graduate.
“I joined this class mainly because I’ve grown up around firearms, because my parents both shoot,” said 14-year-old Faith Glassmaker, a program veteran. “I love shooting, so I think it’s cool that we get to come here every week and just shoot as much as we want.”