Program aims to give youth their ‘First Shots’


NRA rifle instructor Tim Curran guides Brandon Burgos of Naugatuck during a First Shots program held July 30 at the High Rock Shooting Association of Naugatuck. CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — Area youth received an introductory course in the world of shooting courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the High Rock Shooting Association.

The High Rock Shooting Association of Naugatuck hosted a First Shots program for youngsters over the weekend drawing close to 40 participants. The free shooting clinic was geared to youngsters who were shooting firearms for the first time.

“The whole purpose of this program is to dispel the negative connotations associated with guns,” said Jim Rizzio, a certified NRA training counselor, who led the program. “It can be a fun, recreational sport with the proper training on safety and the handling of firearms.”

Sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the program introduced the youngsters to firearm safety and recreational use. Rizzio guided the group through a safety seminar prior to the proper handling of firearms.

“We run numerous programs for youngsters,” Rizzio said. “HRSA president Ray Hanley volunteers his time to instruct boy scouts and has been doing that for years. This program was a family orientated event with youngsters and their parents participating.”

One of the biggest challenges for new shooters is getting started. First Shots aims to make getting started in shooting very easy and a lot of fun.

The program ran last Friday for youngsters 6 to 18 years old accompanied by an adult. On Monday and Tuesday a second part of the program was sponsored by the NRA called Sports Fest introducing the youngsters to a variety of firearms including archery.

“There is a lot of miss information out there about guns,” Rizzio said. “This program gives the youngsters and their parents an introduction into the sport of recreational shooting,”

Getting the youngsters outdoors and coming together as a group was an added benefit to the program.

“It also gets the kids away from the T.V. set and video games. Being outside and bonding together with other youngsters,” Rizzio added.

The HRSA will run the First Shots program again this weekend and will conclude next Monday and Tuesday with the Sports Fest. For more information or to register for these free events call Jim Rizzio at (203) 732-5908 or e-mail him at