Family Traditions

By Patricia McLelland-Merydith

What do you remember during this time of the year when you smell the cool morning fall air, and the freshly baked deserts; holidays spent with families? What were the traditions in your family; what traditions are you beginning?Capture

When I reflect on fall seasons gone by, I remember my Dad, Bud McLelland, hunting with his brothers, cousins, friends and sometimes us kids, bringing home dove, quail, ducks, geese, pheasants and deer. Hunting with my Dad was a treasured adventure. Dad made sure we all had plenty of food. Dad was a stickler for safety and conservation, teaching us safe gun-handling techniques, and to kill only what w
e needed to eat. My Dad inspired me and I later developed memories hunting with my children.

Some of my fondest memories are hunting pheasants with my sons Jason and Ben. Just three years ago I went pheasant and chukar hunting with my Dad, my son Jason and my husband. Little did I know that would be my last time hunting with my Dad, as the years had finally taken their toll on him and his hunting days were over. But that last hunt left me with great memories.

My daughter Elizabeth began shooting with me at the trap club. 

Now she is anxious and looks forward to shooting with
me and we have grown closer through sharing this experience.

What do you do with your children? Do you drive them to sporting events for which you become the spectator, or do you join them as a participant. Shooting firearms, whether at the gun club or hunting in the field, is one way to develop memories with your children. Shooting is a sport where parents and children can compete equally, especially at a gun club.

Shooting also opens the door to discussions about our Second Amendment, and its importance in securing our other rights, a topic sure to be discussed in schools. What better way to get your children involved in understanding their rights than to expose them to this community. What better way to develop good memories with your children than to shoot with them. But how do you go about learning these things?

Join the National Rifle Association (NRA); it’s only $25 per year, the cost of a magazine subscription; however, the NRA provides a magazine free with your membership. 11

Find a gun club. Visit the club. Inquire about youth programs. Find out the costs and hours of operation. Watch others at the club, pay attention and learn gun club etiquette.

Many high schools now have shooting teams participating in the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) a program born out of the cooperation of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Amateur Trapshooting Association. The STP is now administeredby the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation and is the largest shooting sports program for youth in the country.

So this fall when your mind turns to memories from your childhood, think about the memories you could be developing with your family. Think about shooting with your sons and daughters. Create family traditions with your family.
Patricia McLelland-Merydith is Owner/Instructor of McLelland-Merydith Shotgun Instruction National Rifle Association (NRA) Women On Target Instructional Shooting Clinics NRA Life Member NRA Certified Shotgun Instructor Amateur Trapshooting Association Certified Shotgun Instructor Member Coon Creek Trap & Skeet Club, Lincoln, CA If you have questions for Patricia, you may email her at
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