promotes firearm safety for all
You wouldn't let your child step into a car and drive without prior experience, John Dodson
says, so why would anyone want a youth picking up a gun without proper training?
Dodson, president of Cedar Mountain Youth shooting club, has been providing expert education on firearm safety for 20 years, teaching both youth and adults the proper respect for a weapon.
That service to the community prompted Dodson
to be recognized March 2 by the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors
with a Culpeper Colonels award.
"That one was a surprise," Dodson
said the group's classes focus on the basics of firearm safety - keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, making sure not to put your finger on the trigger until you're ready to shoot, and making sure you know what is beyond your target.
"There's something about people that when they see a gun, they want to handle it," Dodson
"We want to make sure they know how to handle it safely."
After completing the safety courses, many of the youth have become interested in
target shooting, Dodson
The club has been active in hosting skeet, sporting clays and egg shoots as fundraisers.
"None of this would be possible without the good help from the great club members," Dodson
said, noting there are 31 members now.
The club also teaches classes and works closely with 4-H groups and Boy Scout troops.
"We're presently training the 4-H kids for their first competition," Dodson
Youth also host the Northwest Region competition in August at their range, land they are allowed to use by the Inskeep family of Battlepark Farm.
"By them letting us use their land, they make the club possible," Dodson
, 79, has lived in Culpeper
for most of his
life, except for the 10 years he
spent in the Air Force.
His love of hunting led him to become an instructor, and he has seen hunting grow more popular in the county.
seen some other changes as well.
"When I was a kid, you'd go a whole hunting season and not see a deer," he
said with a chuckle.
"Now you can't hardly drive down the road without seeing them.
That's good game management by the game department."
cites having a good relationship with the game department, which is probably a good thing considering his
son works for them.
and his wife, Lucy Ruth, also have a daughter and five grandchildren.