We were doing an Appleseed on the weekend of April 18/19. We had about 22 folks show up to hear some Revolutionary War History/Heritage and learn to shoot their rifles better.
One family, consisting of mother, older son and 12 year old daughter attended. The 12 year old daughter was using a borrowed 10/22 from one of the instructors. Even through it was in a "youth" stock it was still too long for her to use comfortably (in the standing position the butt stock protruded about 3" out from the back of her shoulder as she had to put the stock under her arm in order to reach the trigger and forend.
She worked hard all day Saturday and was improving but still fighting the rifle. We finished up Saturday and they went home.
On Sunday morning we started out with a refresher of the safety rules and the 6 steps of firing a shot and how to build a good solid shooting position (prone, sitting, standing). The little girl and her family did not show up right off and I assumed they would not be back. As often happens the adult and sometimes older males (who believe they know how to shoot but come to and Appleseed anyway) were fumbling at recalling and repeating the safety rules and the 6 steps of firing a shot and then grumbling when we tried to get them to see the difference between what we were teaching and what they were saying - it does make a difference.
I stopped everyone and told them that one of these days they would go to an Appleseed and when we asked these questions and they were trying to remember what they'd heard the day before some little kid would throw their hand up and start spouting out the safety rules word for word. And then, that little kid would soon be out shooting them as well. I got the usual reaction, a little grumbling, a lot of disbeilef and we moved on with the refresher.
A little while later the little 12 year old girl and her mom and brother arrived. They got their gear on the line, their targets put up and the little girl once again borrowed that too long 10/22. We did some warm up shooting at various targets to let them get loosened up and start getting back into the "groove". Then we moved on to shooting some AQTs to see if they could put it all together.
Sure enough, the first AQT, standing stage (10 shots in 2 minutes at a target sized to simulate a person at 100 yds. with a maximum possible score of 50 points) the little girl shoots a 47 out of 50. None of the "experienced" and older shooters was within 5 points of her score.
Please, God, excuse me as I could not resist asking the little girl to come back to the firing line with me to loudly announce to all the "old guys" what her score was.
I hope it sunk in. Learning new things is tough without an open mind to help it soak in.
Whether its an Appleseed or some other learning opportunity, bring an open mind and you'll get more out of it.