ROCHESTER, New York, (January 17, 2013) – Claudia Olsen, the National Rifle Association’s Youth Programs Coordinator, the arm of the NRA that reaches the hundreds of thousands of young people being introduced to the shooting lifestyle, has won the prestigious 2013 Crosman Champions of Youth Marksmanship Award. Directing the NRA’s youth programs and working cooperatively with many other groups that foster shooting for young people, Olsen has created a foundation for making shooting sports exciting for the next generation. Her success is evident in the number of young people entering the sport and in the enthusiasm they bring with them. The Award was presented last night at the 2013 Crosman Corporation International Reception at SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
According to Phil Dolci, Crosman president and CEO, Claudia Olsen typifies the lifetime commitment to shooting celebrated by the Award. “At a time when shooting’s popularity is growing, we need the support of people like Claudia Olsen to chart a smart course for young people as they enter the sport for life,” he said. “Though there are countless contributors to the growth of shooting, Claudia manages the many initiatives that make shooting available and appealing to hundreds of thousands of young people from coast-to-coast. She sets the standards, creates the messages, coordinates the activities of countless shooting events and makes sure that each youth shooting experience is positive, safe and leads to a lifelong love of the sport. Her contributions, both past and present, and her attitude of inclusion are what the Crosman Champions of Youth Marksmanship Award is all about,” he said.
Claudia Olsen began her life in shooting in Germany as part of a military family. Her mother was a Bavarian airgun champion and taught Claudia the ins and outs of airgunning. Then came children of her own, both of whom showed an interest in shooting. She and her children became involved in the Virginia 4H shooting program, where Olsen became an instructor for rifle, shotgun and muzzle loader. In 2004, she attended the Running Target Coach School at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and the rest is history. In 2008, she became the program coordinator of the NRA’s Youth Programs Department where today she reaches upwards of 750,000 youngsters annually.
As the NRA’s Youth Programs Department Coordinator, she creates teaching materials in print and on-line, organizes countless shooting events for use by organizations including, among others, the National High School Rodeo Association, the 4H Clubs of America, the Home School Association, the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts of America, Safari Club International, FFA and American Heritage Girls from coast-to-coast. The events are frequently both teaching and competitive affairs, all of which impart the love that she has for shooting as a lifetime sport.
A program that Olsen’s particularly proud of is the Brownells/NRA Youth Shooting Sports Ambassador Program. In fact, her own daughter, Samantha, was the program’s very first Ambassador. The program accepts young people from participating youth organization partners, and takes them to major industry events, including the SHOT Show and the NRA’s Annual Meeting. The program’s intent is to provide perspective on the shooting industry for the ambassadors and encourages them to share those experiences with other young people. The Ambassador Program has been highly successful as a recruiting tool and is being used as a template by other groups as they work to grow the shooting sports. Claudia, a contributor to NRA’s Insights magazine, the publication that serves young shooters, writes about the Ambassador program’s success in telling the shooting sports’ story to the next generation of shooters.
According to Dolci, Claudia Olsen is a precious asset to shooting. “Being one of shooting’s most avid supporters is only part of what Claudia brings to our sport. Her dedication to making shooting for life a reality is what sets her apart. She is, indeed, shooting’s ‘mom-in-chief’ and certainly deserving of a place on the Crosman Champions of Youth Marksmanship Award Roster. We congratulate her and thank her for making the future of shooting sports richer, thanks to the legion of new shooters she has helped to create,” he said.