What do you call it when more than 4,000 youngsters and their parents from urban and suburban Southern California gather to enjoy the outdoor sports andculture? Youth Safari Day – one of the most successful social outreach activities within Safari Club International.
This past summer marked the 15th Annual Youth Safari Day at Raahauge’s Shooting Enterprises in Corona, California. The event is put on each year by the Los Angeles and Orange County Chapters of SCI, and was the brainchild of SCI Past President, Dennis Anderson and Mike Raahauge, owner of the facility where the event is held. “The biggest thing is we’ve been able to develop this from basically nothing—an idea— with the support of the Safari Club International Chapters of Orange County and Los Angeles; and as for community outreach, to have 30 or 40 venues, things for them to do and participate in, is fantastic,” Anderson explained. “The biggest thrill for me and the members of the committee of volunteers is just seeing the expression on these kids doing things that they had no concept of being able to do or have ever done and we get that even with the moms. Some of the moms will come up and ask, ‘Can I do that too?’” Raahauge passed away a couple of months before the 15th Annual Youth Safari Day, but his spirit lived on at the event and via the involvement of his son, Patrick.
At the event, youngsters are able to experience the entire breadth of outdoor activities, ranging from shotgun, rifle and pistol shooting to BB guns, archery, slingshots, fishing, and even rock climbing. A Sensory Safari trailer allows youngsters to see and even touch a wide variety of taxidermy mounts of animals from around the world, while others view live raptors – various kinds of hawks and owls. There is even kayaking and mounted shooting competitions. Through the years, some families have come to the Youth Safari day repeatedly, experiencing the events year after year as the youngsters get older and absorb the fun in different ways. Also, each year there are families there for the first time –wide-eyed in their amazement of all there is to see and do.
The event draws its audience from the greater Southern California area, with some families coming from as far as 100 miles away.