Merit Academy boasts Woodland Park’s first shooting sports program




The Gazette, Colorado Springs


Merit Academy broke new ground in early September with the first practice session of Woodland Park’s first shooting sports program. “Merit Academy Board of Directors have wanted a shooting sports program since before it even opened its doors to students,” the school said in a press release. “Shooting sports teaches gun safety and life skills (e.g. goal setting, responsibility, planning, time management, self-control, concentration, sportsmanship, citizenship, etc.). “We are proud to announce that the first practice session (a trial run) was held today in the Merit Academy gym.” Parent/coaches who attended the coach training on Aug. 26 and their students who attended the Air Gun and Range Safety Training Aug. 19, set up the range in the Merit Academy gym, conducted the safety review and coached their students on both air rifles and air pistols, the release said. The school reported that 42 students signed up for the shooting club practice sessions, which are expected to be held weekly. “This is a parent-driven sports program,” the school said. “This is important for a successful ongoing program that will someday produce shooting sports champions and possibly an Olympian or two.” Michael Theimer, a 1976 Olympian and previously USA Shooting Youth Programs/Coach Academy Director has assisted with the startup, fundraising, student safety training and training of parent/coaches, the release said. Merit students have been invited to train and compete with the Olympic Shooting Center Junior Club athletes, the release said. The school is looking forward to fielding a varsity team in both rifle and pistol.