NSSF Donates $250,000 to BBBS

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If actions speak louder than words, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has raised the bar for other conservation groups by awarding Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) $250,000 to expand its Pass It On program. The program, which teaches youth traditional outdoor sports, such as target shooting, hunting, archery and fishing, by pairing them with adults who also enjoy these activities, has grown rapidly and is now offered in several states.

The partnership between NSSF and BBBS helps to identify youngsters with an interest in the outdoors and matches them up with target shooters, hunters, archers and anglers who want to make a difference in someone's life.

NSSF is challenging other conservation groups to become involved with the program, too. “We are proud to be taking the lead with this donation,” said Jodi Valenta, director of NSSF’s recruitment and retention division. “We also encourage our members and those of other conservation groups to become ‘Bigs’ and help pass along to the ‘Littles’ an appreciation of the outdoors.”

Through the Pass It On program, boys and girls are matched with mentors who provide them with positive experiences and a unique opportunity to build respect for the outdoors. The program is supported through NSSF’s STEP OUTSIDE® program in which the organization introduces traditional outdoor sports to those who don’t ordinarily have the opportunity to get involved in these activities.

“We are proud to be part of the growth of a program where thousands of children will develop a love of outdoor activities and an appreciation of wildlife,” said Valenta. “In fact, we so strongly believe in the value of this program and the benefits it brings to children that we have made a concrete investment toward the program’s success.”

Supportive partners, including manufacturers and retailers, state fish and wildlife agencies, conservation organizations, sportsmen’s clubs, and other groups have committed their support and participation to this program,” said Valenta. “Now we ask the entire conservation community to get involved by becoming mentors so that the program can continue to grow.”

In addition to the STEP OUTSIDE grant, Pass It On also received a donation from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in February 2003, earmarked for expanding the program nationwide. The program has also received support from local chapters of conservation organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation, Quail Unlimited and Pheasants Forever.

To become involved in the Pass It On program, contact your local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter or contact Jodi Valenta at NSSF, jvalenta@nssf.org.