FROM STAFF REPORTS
Ashley Bergstrom is a member of the Apple Valley Gun Club, Friends of the NRA and Junior ROTC Air Force program at the Academy for Academic Excellence.
So when she learned about a local shooting, she knew how she wanted to help.
As a Girl Scout Ambassador, the high school junior created a firearms safety program that has earned her the Gold Award, the highest award in the Girl Scouts.
“I became aware the issue in my community was gun safety, because there are a lot of shootings and many people don't know how to handle a gun safely,” Bergstrom said.
Her Gold Award project took aim at educating young people about proper firearm safety. She also wanted to generate more female involvement in the sport of shooting. Bergstrom worked to diffuse the negative image surrounding guns and lead the way in encouraging more women to take interest in this predominately male sport.
“A lot of my friends who are girls are not involved in shooting sports and it's really a fun sport to get in to,” she said. “I wanted to share this sport with them.”
In addition to teaching gun awareness, Bergstrom led a team of 40 students in competitive shooting at her high school. She worked closely with her school's principal, Junior ROTC program, and the local gun club to establish the program. Once she had approval, Bergstrom said, “I decided to write a grant and got it approved for about $9,000 to buy all our air riffles, pellets, safety goggles, ear plugs and targets.”
Bergstrom plans to continue leading her Marksmanship Program at Academy for Academic Excellence in shooting competition next year. After graduation, she hopes to attend the Air Force Academy. A Girl Scout who has earned her Gold Award and joins the Armed Services will enter at one rank higher than other recruits.