Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – The Concentric Circle

Name: Jennifer Ann Dillon
From: Morgantown, West Virginia
Grade: Junior in College
School: West Virginia University
Votes: 0

I have
volunteered in many different areas over the years, but the one that
stands out the most for me is when I volunteered at a gun range for
two years.

I was just
starting college at the time and I was looking for something to do
after class to kill time. For one of my classes, we had to go to a
local gun range to practice shooting. I went a week early to figure
out where the range was and started talking to the manager about
volunteering. He “hired” me on the spot. I started working about
20 hours a week, but did more when I had free time. Some of my
responsibilities included running the register, cleaning, stocking
the machines, helping customers, and doing general yard maintenance
around the place. It was hard at first. I was in school, working a
part time job, and volunteering at the gun range, but it all paid off
in the end. Since the gun range was located in a state park, I got to
know a lot of the park officers and different state employees. The
owner of the range also let me live out there for free as long as I
volunteered and helped out around the place. As the months passed, I
got to know a lot of the regular customers, and help assist them in
there shooting. I also had great contacts for school should I need

Since I was in the natural resources field in school, we used the
park the range was located in for nearly everything. It became habit
for me to ask the owner of the range and the park officers where
different parts of the park were, how to get to them, or if there
were parts of the park not many people knew about. At one point
during my sophomore year of college, I had the reputation of “tent
person” because I volunteered and lived at the gun range. Because
of my volunteering at the range, I was able to introduce a lot of my
classmates to the place, and many of them started to volunteer there
as well. I also was able to help customers in many different natural
resource questions about the park or the school. The owner of the
range also started an outdoor living school and kayaking/canoe rental
that I helped operate. My friends and I were able to spread the word
at the college and to all of our friends so the livery had business.

When I graduated in May of 2016, it was hard to leave my volunteer
position. I believe that my two years of volunteering made a huge
difference in not only the youth/customers I worked with, but in the
park I worked in as well. I helped introduce a lot of people to
little known parts of the park, and introduced many people who had
never even heard of the park before.

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