First ?Youth Day? attracts 50+ youth for shooting clinic

About 53 youth between the ages of 7 and 16 turned out May 31 for the first Scott O? Dell Memorial Youth Day at the wildlife area at Marion Reservoir?s French Creek Cove.

The event was sponsored by Marion County Quail Forever, the Kansas Depart?ment of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

Most of the participants came from Marion County, but several came from other locations around the state.

?We had some clear from up by Kansas City,? said Torey Hett, administrative support specialist with the Corps of Engineers and an event volunteer. ?They were relatives of Quail Forever members, or someone who had heard about it through someone involved in it.?

Youth received shooting instructions regarding shotguns from certified instructors, including Dennis Vincent from KDWPT and JC and Susan Saunders. Archery was instructed by Chad Adkins and Lucas King. Scott Amos and Dale Ehlers instructed participants about pellet rifles.

Ampride provided hot dogs for lunch and Atmos Energy provided a charcoal grill to cook lunch after the morning of activities.

Other volunteers were Marvin Petersen, Bill Shirley, Ty Waner, Chris Meierhoff, Stacey Collett, Christian Pedersen, Brent Theede and Spencer Put?man.

Quail Forever donated several of the prizes that were raffled off following the lunch, including a Marlin .22 rifle. Prize winners included Braedon Mercer, Ian John?son, Caleb Tomlinson, McKin?non Waner, Misty Larsen and Colton Boud?reaux.

The event was funded in part by the family of Scott O?Dell, an outdoors enthusiast from Marion, who died in 2012.

?His family set up the memorial funds to have a youth day like this, where kids could come and shoot and enjoy the outdoors and learn how to shoot if they hadn?t,? Hett said. ?Quite a few of them had never shot guns before. Scott was big into hunting and enjoyed kids, also.

?It was an honor to have Mike O?Dell and Dianne Burnett, siblings of Scott O?Dell, there to encourage the kids along throughout the morning,? he added.

?Our hope is that this will become an annual event here at Marion, and continue to be as well received as it was this year.?