Boy Scout camp to adopt sound suppressors for shooting programs – By Michelle Libby
Hearing safety, concern for environment, and improved teaching are top priorities
Camp William Hinds in Raymond is soon to become a leader in shooting sports and the first Boy Scout camp in the country to use suppression technology to quiet the sounds of the guns and be a better neighbor for those enjoying Panther Pond.
Under the direction of Scout Executive (CEO) of the Pine Tree Council Eric Tarbox, Camp Hinds is moving into the future by teaching safe and responsible gun handling during its summer camp programs and competitive shooting sports year round through the Scholastic Pistol Program for Venture Scouts (co-ed ages 14 to 20) and Cub Scout (ages 7 to 10) Biathlons sponsored by the Walmart Foundation.
Boy Scouts of America is the leader in introducing young people to shooting as an enjoyable, safe, and competitive sport.
In a partnership with Gemtech, a manufacturer of firearm suppressors and ammunition, the 10 counties in central and southern Maine served by Pine Tree Council at Camp Hinds will have the opportunity to use state of the art equipment while learning gun safety. The Scouts use the National Rifle Association (NRA) teaching program First Steps for pistol, rifle and shotgun merit badges, as well as National Shooting Sports Foundation’s teachings.
“Training new Scouts the safe, responsible enjoyment of shooting sports is greatly enhanced by reducing the decibels of gunshots,” said Joe Debergalis, Chairman of the NRA’s Education and Training Committee. “This is a superb initiative that will enable Scouts to improve their skills while teaching them respect for their environment.”
Gemtech donated eight .22 caliber suppressors and 25,000 rounds of sub-sonic ammunition. Josh Waldron the CEO of Silencer Co. offered to join the initiative donating two Salvo suppressors for shotguns at Camp Hinds.
This initiative will be a first in the Boys Scouts of America, and follows the recent completion of a new range complex at Camp Hinds. The ranges exceed NRA safety recommendations and use ballistic sand built into berms to stop the bullets, a high standard in range safety.
“National Guard and Reserve servicemen and women are rebuilding our camp properties as a part of their training. Our new range complex allows us to offer more teaching opportunities, so we asked Gemtech to help” said Tarbox. “Gemtech gladly joined us and helped us form a plan to reduce sound, protect hearing, and show concern for the Maine lakes region environment. Sturm, Ruger, & Co. is donating eight All American .22 rifles, which are designed to use attachments including sound suppressors. We are very grateful for the help of Gemtech, Ruger, and SilencerCo, and to Furlong Custom Creations for providing legal transfers of the gifted product,” Tarbox said.
The sound suppressors are attached to the muzzles of the rifles, shotguns and pistols to muffle the sounds of the ammunition being fired.
Sound suppressors have long been viewed as something only seen in movies and on television, however countries in Europe have long required or encouraged their use. Contrary to popular belief, suppressors do not silence gunshots. Suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by an average of 20 to 35 decibels, about the same reduction as standard earplugs or earmuffs.
“We believe in the more educational shooting opportunities. To be a leader for teaching Scouts, in hearing prevention against Tinnitus or other hearing disorders and respect for our environment,” said Tarbox.
“The Boy Scouts of America is one of the few organizations that instill excellent core values in young men today. We are very excited to support them in their efforts to teach firearms safety and responsibility with the use of suppressors. Suppressors have become more popular in all aspects of shooting and using them to help protect hearing and avoid noise pollution is the focal point,” said Tom Collins, CEO of Gemtech.
“In the last two years, we were one of ten Boy Scout camps in the country to offer a pilot program that allowed boys 14 years old and up to learn to shoot .22 pistols,” said Tarbox. In addition to the pistol program, the camp also offers merit badge and advanced instruction in.22 rifles, shotgun, and archery. As of this summer, suppressors will be used for the rifles, pistols and shotguns.
“Using suppressors makes the shooting experience safer,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the American Suppressor Association. “By using suppressors, the Scouts at Camp William Hinds will be able to focus on the fundamentals of shooting. This is especially important for the many young Scouts who are learning to shoot by taking the rifle and shotgun shooting merit badges. Instructors will have an easier time delivering range commands, and the Scouts will be able to more effectively protect their hearing, and, by reducing the noise pollution, become better stewards to their neighbors.”
“The Town of Raymond continues to have a wonderful relationship with Camp Hinds and the Pine Tree Council,” said Don Willard, Raymond town manager. “Camp Hinds has been teaching shooting safety since 1927, and this initiative shows the Scouts’ willingness to be great neighbors,” Willard said.
The hope is that Scouts from all over the country will come to Raymond. “When Scouts want a safe, responsible enjoyment of pistol, rifle and shotgun shooting, Camp Hinds will be their number one destination,” Tarbox said.
Jeff Furlong Custom Creations has also been extremely helpful with the legal side of the donations. Furlong is an authorized dealer of firearms and suppressors, so he was also to streamline the process for the donations from Gemtech and SilencerCo.
Although the shooting sports program is a popular activity in the summer, Camp Hinds is a traditional camp with a full aquatics program, sailing, kayaking, row boating, a climbing program, Scout skills and other traditional camp activities. The camp runs in 1-week sessions for six weeks.
The Pine Tree Council, Boy Scouts of America serves nearly 10,000 registered youth and adult volunteers. The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. Camp Hinds will pilot this initiative starting in the summer of 2015.
“We teach the boys and girls to whom we’re teaching target shooting that we can enjoy our sport in addition to protecting our environment and care for those who enjoy our outdoors,” Tarbox concluded.
For more on the Gemtech suppressors, visit www.gem-tech.com.