Starting in 1984, when I joined the Cony Rifle Team, I began target shooting at the Capitol City Rifle and Pistol Club, under the instruction of one of the most patient and caring individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

His name is Julian Beale, and he has run the junior program there for longer than most people could remember. Year after year, his instruction and coaching sent shooters to the national matches, and the Junior Olympics, racking up trophy after trophy.

I believe it was in 1985 or 1986 that new ranges were developed, new safety berms were built, and a covered range was built on the high-power range.

Who spent every day there working that summer, shoveling dirt, reseeding the berms and swinging hammers? Beale, the Juniors, and their parents.

When the targets need to be pulled in the 200-yard range who does that? Generally it is members of the Junior Program.

How many of those Juniors later became seniors, paying their dues year after year, while not having enough time to fully utilize the range, just because they had an affinity to Beale? More than the executives of the club might believe.

Due to politics of a few “elitists” who want to have dictatorial power at the club, they have in their “wisdom” decided to remove the Junior Program. This shows how much they care about children learning the safe handling of firearms, now doesn’t it?

I’m glad that this year I decided not to support the club anymore and did not renew my membership after 24 years as a senior member of the club, since under the current group of elected leaders I seriously doubt it will remain open much longer.

Michael Bouford

Oakland