And it doesn't have to be a donation; it may be a loan, or a sale.
Almost every month, when I teach a new class of "Introduction to USPSA", I find students who don't have sufficient equipment to compete in matches. Usually, it's a matter of crappy holsters; as often, they don't have enough magazines, or enough magazine carriers, to provide them with sufficient reloads to shoot some of the "Hi Round Count Stages".
Many of the folks who are really interested in competing want to shoot their first match as soon as possible, but they just can't afford, or can't receive the extra equipment necessary to shoot in their declared Division.
I try to help them out by offering what equipment I have, but often it doesn't fit their pistol, or their magazines.
Some of the equipment I have is not needed (because it's redundant, or not appropriate to the Division in which I expect to compete, so I offer it to the students. But I'm concerned that these folks may not compete at all, because of the high start-uip costs.
If YOU have equipment which you don't use any more, I am hoping that you might be willing to donate it to the Introduction to USPSA Equipment Fund (which I just now established), so new shooters have what they need to decide whether they sufficiently enjoy the sport; if not, they can return the equipment. If they want to continue competing, they can buy their own, or use what is available until they can afford to replace it with something that is more appropriate to their basic gear.
My thought is that they can buy the equipment (belts, magazine carriers, even magazines) from you at a "Used" price, which would save them money AND get the equipment to them in the week between the Introduction class, and their first match.
Of you want to to sell your gear at a reduced price, that's fine. The new shooter will pay you what you ask, or decline the bargain.
If you want to just contribute the gear, it will be used by several shooters until they can get their own gear.
Do you want to sell it, but are willing to wait until they decide they want to keep it? Okay, they can have the loan of it until they decide to buy their own, and return your gear; or they can pay you for it, and continue to use it.
The basic choices are:
- Sell it outright to whomever needs it, with no returns.
- Loan the equipment (it's still your), and when the student gets his/her own, it will be returned to the pool.
- Loan the equipment, with the possibility of selling it at a reduced price.
- Loan the equipment, with the understanding that it will be returned to the "pool" for use by the next student who needs it.
Okay, it can be complicated or simple. It's your choice.
I don't care HOW you want to make the deal, as long as we can get usable (if dated) equipment to new shooters. My only concern is that we encourage new people to TRY the sport, and if they don't like it, then they haven't spent a lot of money just to learn that it isn't for them.
Please contact me (contact me in the COMMENTS section for this post) and we'll work something out. I won't be giving a July class, so there's at least six weeks for you to make a decision, set a price (if necessary), and arrange for the exchange of merchandise.
I'll keep the gear, on trust. I'll entrust the gear to the students; if they rip us off, I won't be able to pay you. Folks who know me, know that I won't be keeping the gear for myself.
Please think this over, and let me know if you're willing to make your gear available to new shooters. But remember ... the more competitors there are, the more people who will show up at matches and Build The Sport!
(Also: they will tape targets, pick up brass, and tell you what a GREAT shooter you are!)
Well, maybe not the last part. but the more shooters we have, the better the sport gets.
Mac has promised me that we can store them in the ARPC Club "Vault", so they'll be readily available. And in the future, contributions can be turned in at either the Stat Shack during Match Days at ARPC, or at the Pro-shop.
They will be disbursed to shooters on the basis of need. No strings attached, except that they will be encouraged to return them to the club Vault when they are able to replace them with gear which they can now afford, after they determine that they are committed to the sport.
Then they will be made available to other shooters.
I plan to keep track of which specific items are contributed by each donator. I think that feedback should be available, although there is no requirements imposed on the recipients. However, I don't plan to institute any major tracking program. My experience has always been that people are more than eager to contribute to the sport, and to encourage new shooters. The recipients of these donations will likely want to keep the Gear Box full, if only because they realize how helpful it may be for the New Shooters who follow them. And if they don't? Then the program will be discontinued. Any system which becomes too cumbersome to administer will fail, so we'll make this one as 'unofficial' as possible and count on the good will of both donators and recipients.
If you donate, and later decide you want your gear back? If we still have it, just ask for it. Thanks for the loan, no problem.
Other clubs who also offer a Certification/New Shooter Safety Training Program might consider instituting a similar equipment repository. As time goes by, and if unexpected situations occur, I'll keep you informed of any negative consequences of this program.