In the Green Mountains of Vermont, retired VT State Police Lieutenant Clint Gray has been instructing all-female firearms clinics for the past 4 years. The classes, sponsored by the National Rifle Association’s Women on Target (WOT) program, are designed to give women of all ages the confidence to handle many types of firearms.
Gray was inspired to host these free clinics after the killing of single mother and beloved science teacher Melissa Jenkins in his own town of St. Johnsbury, VT. Gray’s mission in the years following Jenkins’ murder has been to pass on to Vermont women what he has been teaching to VT State Police Officers for over 29 years – how to use a firearm.
On August 23, 2015, Gray facilitated his final clinic. He has laid the plans for passing the leadership over to experienced female instructors and training new leaders. The August 23rd clinic boasted a lead female instructor and three more up-and-coming assistant instructors in addition to it’s 12 promising new shooters. The women who participated in the day long clinic learned how to confidently render a firearm safe, load, unload, and fire on target several calibers of handguns. They also learned how to use various rifles, shotguns and the crossbow.
One of Gray’s many hand-picked lead instructors is retired US Army Master Sergeant Marsha Thompson. Out of 39 years with the Army, Thompson served 10 years as a marksmanship instructor.
WOT clinics in Vermont have been hugely successful, typically filling up within days of posting a clinic. We are very much looking forward to what these women have in store for WOT in the future.
Organizers for the 2016 round of WOT clinics are filling up rosters of students and volunteer instructors. If you are interested in taking one of these all-female courses or if you want to become a leader, contact Leah Stewart at Locust Creek Outfitters. 802-234-5884 locustcreekoutfitters@gmail.
By Brielle King