Izaak Walton League membership...


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BrokenPaw
August 23, 2004, 04:18 PM
I've been trying to find an outdoor rifle range that's a convenient distance from my house. I've got two kids, and one of them is just about ready to begin shooting with real firearms (as opposed to Airsoft and BB guns[0]). I find that outdoor ranges feel less cramped, especially when teaching a new shooter.

I live in Manassas, VA, and there are no public outdoor rifle ranges closer than 90 minutes away (at Sleepy Creek, WV), AFAICT. Except for Clark Brothers', but I've had a couple of bad experiences with people on that range, and I'm hesitant to go back...

I found that the Izaak Walton League has a 50-yard outdoor rifle range that's within rock-heaving distance of where I live. I looked on the IWLA web site, and grabbed the membership application and gave it a quick read-over.

The place almost sounds more like a lodge than a shooting club (with disclaimers about having to be present for your initiation ceremony, otherwise forfeiting your initiation fee). Also they want two sponsors who are already IWLA members, or three character references who are clergy or public officials...[1]

The question on the application about whether I've received any traffic tickets in the past three years, and requiring an explanation on a separate sheet if I answered "yes", seemed a little...invasive, to say the least.

What's IWLA actually like? Is it worthwhile for me to even bother trying to become a member? Their annual membership fee is not bad, and having a closeby outdoor range would make me ecstatic. But if it's got that "lodge"-like, secret-society feel to it, I don't want to bother. And (given questions about my driving record) if they're so concerned about members' propriety, will they find my long hair and black clothes and EBRs offensive?

If there are any IWLA members who can give me a clue, I'd appreciate it...

Thanks,

-BP

[0] Which I use for four-rules and basic shooting training
[1] I only know 1 minister who could give me a reference, and I don't know any IWLA members, so I'm sorta short on the types of character references they're apparently looking for; my only recent contact with a public official has been when I got a speeding ticket this winter, and they'll already know about that since I'd have to disclose it on the application :uhoh: . Also I imagine the cop in question wouldn't give me the type of reference I'd be needing. :D

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moa
August 23, 2004, 04:54 PM
I am a member in Maryland, joined around 1987. Got sponsored by gun store guy I bought a rifle from. Maybe the rules have changed to keep out riff raff, but one sponsor was all I needed.

You might check with some local gun stores and see what you can find out.

I do not recall filling out any paperwork except when I wanted to use their ranges. I probably had too, I just do not remember. Fees were cheap and still are. $100.00 a year.

For insurance reasons, at the time I joined, everybody who used the range was classified as a Range Officer. We had to take a one and half hour orientation, a written test, and then checked out on our knowledge of various types of firearms by checking to see if they were loaded. Range orientation is once a month.

I do not attend Chapter house events. But they are mostly monthly meetings and dinners, barbecues, all kinds of shooting events, sighting in days. etc. Some are strictly fund raising events. There are various Chapter activities. I get a newsletter once month with the schedules.

I think to join now, you have to participate in some kind of mandatory Chapter house activites. I participated (not mandatory at the time) in about 10 monthly range clean-ups.

The Chapter I belong too has 98 arces in northern Montgomery County, MD. It has all kinds of shooting facilities including a large 100 yard open rifle range and a large 50 yard open pistol range. Rifle range is totally covered and pistol is partially covered. It has a large Chapter house.

Unfortunately, I rarely ever go to the range. Usually to busy to take the time to travel there and back, gearing up, etc.

Roadrunner
August 23, 2004, 05:35 PM
I had a membership to the IWLA Arlington-Fairfax Chapter in Centerville for a number of years before joining the Fairfax Rod & Gun Club. I don't recall all those details for joining, it's possible they've changed since I was a member.

It was a friendly place to shoot, but can get crowded on the weekends. Once deer season approaches, it got even busier on the weekends. If I remember correctly, I thought the club had over 2200 members when I was an active member. I believe it's the largest IWLA club in the area due to the fact, as you have discovered, there aren't many rifle ranges in the Northern Virginia area.

Herk
August 24, 2004, 10:42 AM
Brokenpaw,

I'm a member, just joined last year, and I don't remember having to do hardly anything except go to the first meeting, give them my initiation fee, do my 6hrs of community service, and going to one other meeting. Really nice place. Contact Nancy Keaton for more info:
nankea@earthlink.net
http://www.geocities.com/yosemite/rapids/8293/

They might have changed the requirements, but I wasn't aware of it. Honestly I don't go there much, but I really like what they offer.

BrokenPaw
August 24, 2004, 11:28 AM
Thanks for your replies. :) I'll go ahead and contact Ms. Keaton and see how things go.

-BP

Harry Tuttle
August 24, 2004, 11:49 AM
show up at a posted house meeting
expect to be asked to stand if you are a visitor
participate by asking a question
offer to help on a committee
assist at a work day

and you are in like Flynn

like most places, the chapters have about 30 active folkes that show up at every volunteer event

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