West Fargo High School received a $10,000 endowment to support their local shooting team, West Fargo High School ROTC Program. The endowment was given through a partnership between the Midway USA Foundation and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) on Friday.
The endowment will generate about $500 per year, which the team will use for ammunition, targets and other equipment needed for the program.
"This year, we'll use the funds to outfit the weapons that we have," senior army instructor Douglas Trenda said. "They all need sights, they need cases and, obviously, more pellets and targets. This endowment means that we can not only continue, but also grow. We've normally had just one team, and now we can have two and be able to support that."
Rod Gilmore, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Regional Director, presented a check to West Fargo Principal Gary Clark and the ROTC Program instructors Douglas Trenda and Joel Komrosky.
"From my perspective, we have a super program with super instructors," Clark said. "Our kids, every year, are winning tons of awards when they go to competitions. The program hasn't been around very long, but they have a trophy case that is full."
"The program is always well-received," Trenda said. "The kids always do really well at competitions, and I don't mean that from a trophy point of view. They are so disciplined, and it is really fun to see that part of it. They wait for every order. They don't touch a weapon until they are told. They don't load until they are told. If you tell them to stop, they stop. That's all of a piece of it too, not just shooting for records and bragging rights."
Endowments are generated through support from the Midway USA Foundation and local fundraisers hosted by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. RMEF staff and volunteers nominate organized shooting teams, including high school, college and university shooting programs as candidates for future endowments, which are awarded quarterly.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is leading a conservation initiative that has protected or enhanced habitat on more than 6.2 million acres-an area larger than Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Yosemite and Rocky Mountain national parks combined. RMEF also is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues.
"When you see a kid starting to hit the target, their level of confidence and their demeanor goes up," Gilmore said, "and that tends to carry over academically."
The West Fargo/Fargo/Moorhead chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will be holding their 20th annual fundraiser banquet on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Speedway Event Center in West Fargo.