This summer, twelve Otsego County youths ages 11-16 participated in the the first Youth Shotgun Program at the Northland Sportsmen’s Club, funded by the Mark Brown Fund of the Otsego Community Foundation. The Mark Brown Fund was established by Mark’s friend Elese Williams after Mark passed away in 2020. Elese wanted to honor Mark’s life and his love for hunting by impacting the next generation. This fund will provide youth with an opportunity to participate in a six-week program that covers firearm safety, handling procedures and the rules of trap and skeet shooting. 

At the beginning of the course, safety was stressed, and safe gun handling was demonstrated and practiced before the participants were allowed to shoot. Weekly, each youth shot a minimum of 25 clay targets and by the end of the program, each youth made improvement in their accuracy as well as their confidence in their shooting ability.

“These 12 youths are now versed in the safe handling of a firearm. Each of them enjoyed the program and all of them want to return to repeat the program again next year. Their conversations with parents and peers will have a positive impact on safety practices,” stated Judi Doan. “It was also exciting to witness the six instructors who volunteered their time benefit from this experience as much of the youths.”

To learn more about the Northland Sportsmen’s Club, visit To make a donation to the Mark Brown Fund of the Otsego Community Foundation, visit

Do you have a charitable wish? The OCF team is here to help. Make an appointment to your discuss options by calling 989-731-0597 or emailing Dana Bensinger at