BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL — When you tell people you’re going to help blind kids shoot at targets, disbelief is the most common reaction.
The Bountiful Lion’s Club and Bountiful Jeep Posse have spent the last several years proving such disbelief wrong. The groups regularly hold shooting sessions with teens and college-age students from the Utah Foundation for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
The next one is coming to the Lion’s Club shooting range Aug. 6.
“People just kind of shake their heads when I tell them, but it’s a totally awesome experience,” said Chuck Evans, a Bountiful Jeep Posse member who regularly helps with the event. “We just love these kids.”
The event is part of the foundation’s summer camp program, which gives blind and visually impaired students the chance to experience activities they might not otherwise get to.
Other activities include bowling and self-defense classes.
“We want to give blind children a lot of different experiences,” said Tony Jeppson, executive director of the foundation. “Things are often very frightening to these kids until they’ve had some experience with them.”
The Lion’s Club provides space at their gun range in Bountiful, as well as dinner for the kids. The jeep posse members help the kids shoot, holding the guns while the children fire and assisting them with their aim at times. There are also safety officers on hand.
“We have 10 guns, and everyone gets 10 shots,” said Evans. “Then another set of kids gets a chance. We keep going until we run out of bullets or daylight.”
Last year, 46 teens got the chance to shoot. Thanks to the assistance, some of them even end up having pretty good aim.
“One year when I was up there, this kid ran over to his target and said ‘Look, I’ve got nine,’” said Evans. “He counted them faster with his fingers than I could with my eyes.”
Later in the summer, the groups also hold a shooting event for college-age individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
“It’s a fun way to learn how to shoot,” said Karl Koenig, a Bountiful Lion’s Club member who helps oversee the shoot. “And they’re so appreciative. It’s just wonderful.”
Koenig, for his part, appreciates the variety it brings to the club’s gun range.
“We like the gun range to be used for more than just hunters,” he said. “Blind shoots are one of those fun things we look forward to every year.”
As for Evans, he enjoys it just as much as the kids.
“It’s probably the most fun thing I do shooting,” he said with a laugh. “And I never even pull the trigger.”