Casin Sellears said he had no firearm experience before joining a Bell County 4-H club.

But the 17-year-old student from Central Texas Christian School said that was all but an issue.

“That’s what I like the most about 4-H. I had no shooting experience and when we found 4-H it didn’t matter if I owned a gun or not,” Sellears told the Telegram. “They helped teach me how to shoot safely.”

There are 16 community clubs within Bell County’s 4-H program students can join and participate in. These students are taught through local 4-H volunteers.

“Volunteers are trained in certain disciplines in the shooting sports project,” Sheryl Long, a Bell County Extension Agent, said. “So those disciplines are archery, rifle, shotgun, pistol and even muzzle loading.”

Sellears participates in each one of these disciplines and has described his experiences as “exciting.”

“My experience in Texas 4-H shooting sports has been positive, exciting and has provided me experience and growth in shooting, leadership and public speaking,” Sellears said. “We are great competitors and the project is full of great sportsmen.”

However, Long explained how summer competitions have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A bunch of our shooting sports projects have been affected by COVID-19 because of regulations placed before us by Bell County and with Texas A&M AgriLife,” Long said. “A lot our practices have had to cease for the moment because of the number of participants in those shooting sports.”

Although these cancellations have been disappointing, Sellears — who has participated in 4-H since the seventh grade — was happy 4-H found a way to keep members involved.

“I had been practicing (for competition) and it would’ve been in two weeks, so that was disappointing. But they have been holding contests online about knowledge and we just had a virtual National 4-H Shooting Sports Quiz Bowl that was really fun.”

Enrollment for returning 4-H members will start on August 15, while new members can join September 1. Registration is $25 per child and covers membership throughout the year.

Although the shooting sports program is by far his favorite 4-H activity, Sellears stressed they have something for everyone.

“There’s so much more for people in 4-H than just shooting sports,” he said. “It’s just a great program. You can sign up and we’ll welcome you with open arms.”

Interested individuals can contact the local extension office at 254-933-5312 or go online at www.4Honline.com for more information.