Let me tell you about the opportunity I was afforded and the inspiring week I’ve had. At the end of June, I had the honor to be part of a three-woman instructor team for the ‘Couples For Liberty’ program at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Couples spend five days learning pistol, shotgun and archery skills as well as a seminar about concealed carry and personal defense.
This was a personal ‘full-circle’ moment for me as the other two ladies were actually MY first instructors in 2014 when I attended a Babes With Bullets camp. Sheila Hoekstra and Sheila Brey are incredible instructors and competitive pistol shooters. From them I gleaned new tips and techniques for teaching others; what a gift.
Let's talk about the Hillsdale campus. This place is AWESOME! The first-class accommodations at the Dow Hotel and Conference Center is a wonderful respite after a day of training on the range and there was no nodding off during the lectures each evening as the speakers were very interesting and the topics timely.
We did have the privilege to tour the Mossey Library Heritage Room which contains a number of rare and special collections, including the personal libraries of Ludwig von Mises, a collection of rare Bibles and other books, including a signed copy of James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” a “Lysistrata” illustrated and signed by Pablo Picasso, and a 1598 copy of Aristotle’s “Politics,” as well as an antique coin collection. I can imagine studying there on a rainy day in front of the fireplace tucked into a cozy leather chair.
The John Anthony Halter Shooting Sports Education Center is a shooters paradise. The range’s 113 acres contain several American trap fields, a five-stand sporting clays field, a 20-station sporting clays course, small arms range, skeet field, an Olympic bunker, an outdoor archery range, and the beautiful AcuSport Lodge.
Smith & Wesson and Springfield Armory (new for 2019) supplied the handguns for the pistol classes. Everything from .22lr to .45 caliber were available to try and try them they did! Everyone had an adventurous spirit and an open mind and after a couple of days trials and questions, discovered their personal favorites.
On the last day, I was in charge of the 1911-style station and it brought me so much joy to see the spreading grin on their faces after shooting the Springfield Armory Range Officer Elite .45 ACP.
Even the tiniest gal there smiled from ear to ear! But then again with a 1911, what's not to love!
Of course for clay shooting there is a stunning selection of shotguns for use as well. Beautiful over/under (O/U) and semi-autos of all makes and styles. I chose to use the Syren L4S gas operated semi-auto sporting model and was delighted at how the fit and weight was just what I've been looking for. I even got to sneak in some personal time with Gary, one of the shotgun instructors, and he gave me helpful advice that I will be practicing.
(On a personal note, I might have won the friendly round of sporting clays that was shot between us three ladies on our last day, but I don’t want to brag!)
From my first experience at Hillsdale, I came away truly inspired to continue my company, The Purple Gun LLC's mission of ‘…furthering education, training and safety of firearms in the community. ‘ I also brought back a renewed sense of hope and purpose to continue my personal education on our Constitution and the founding of our Nation and what it means to be a citizen. I believe this is the most basic and necessary education that we should learn and it commits us to be good stewards of what we’ve been given and guides us to be better neighbors in our community. Hillsdale, to me, represents the ideals our forefathers imagined when they thought of our future; a place of freedom, education, discipline, service and integrity.
I want to thank Hillsdale and staff for a wonderful experience and our leader Gena for making sure everything ran smoothly. Thank you to Sheila Hoekstra and Sheila Brey for your camaraderie and guidance to help me become a better instructor and goodwill ambassador. Also the seven couples attending camp deserve a BIG thank you as you were cheerful participants who endured beautifully in the hot weather and you reminded me of why I love to teach. Most of all I want to thank my sweet husband who supports me in all of my endeavors.
On the 6-hour drive home I had time to reflect on what was learned and what I can improve upon and I am definitely looking forward to my 2nd adventure at Hillsdale with the Couples for Liberty Seminar & Shooting Camp in August.
(There is also a 'Ladies For Liberty' Camp available, click here to watch a short video)
Hillsdale College offers many items of study, some courses are online & free!
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Next, Battle for The North Coast II , USPSA match