Just The Beginning

Jefferson Community College in Upstate New York Is Starting Small, But Thinking Big
by Matt Krumrie

THE PEOPLE OF JEFFERSON COMMUNITY COLLEGE (JCC) CLAY TARGET CLUB believe there are two important elements crucial to building any program:

Passion and support.

And because JCC already has both, coach Wayne Reed is confident the numbers will come. Founded in the Spring of 2020, the JCC Clay Target Club has competed with five team members each season, just enough to compete but with plenty of room to grow.

“We’re a small team but we’re working hard to get more kids involved,” said Reed. “I think there is a really strong interest in this area, especially for those who compete on their high school team and are looking to stay involved once they get to college.”

Reed rattles off a list of people who have helped the program get started: Ed “Doc” Powell of Sackets Harbor Sportsman’s Club, the home range of the club; assistant coach Ryan Forney; his son Joe Forney; and Paul Alteri, assistant professor of criminal justice at JCC.

Back in 2006, Alteri created a basic firearms class for JCC criminal justice (CRJ) majors. The class was designed to teach future law enforcement officers the basics of handgun safety, proper handgun care, and shooting techniques. This class is now required for all JCC CRJ majors.

“Many of our student athletes are CRJ majors and take many of my classes together, allowing us to develop a great rapport with each other and new friendships,” said Alteri.

Reed’s daughter, Monica Reed, also played a key role in starting the club. Monica was a three-time New York State High School Clay Target League Female High Overall at Carthage High School.

“I got motivated to start the program because of how much I enjoyed shooting for my high school and the presence of many former teammates at JCC,” said Monica Reed. “My high school team introduced many kids to the shooting sports, myself included, and I figured a college team could do the same thing.

“JCC is a great school and I truly enjoyed my time as a student there. Going to college isn’t just about going to class. Getting involved around campus is a great way to meet people and a good addition to your resume after graduation. Shooting sports is a great outlet to better yourself and network with fellow students and staff.”

JCC is a public community college in Watertown, N.Y., and is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. It offers 40-plus programs, including nine that are entirely online.

“We have a top-notch coach in Wayne Reed who helps in skill-building but also stresses the importance of shooting safety,” said Alteri. “We also have access to and use of one of the finest outdoor ranges in our area in the Sackets Harbor Sportsman’s Club.”

One thing Reed loves about the League: all are welcome.

“What is great about shooting sports is that you don’t have to be the best athlete, the biggest, or the fastest,” said Reed. “The sport is open to anyone interested in learning. Once people try it, they seem to like it. I’ve seen kids with little to no experience, and once they start to shoot a little bit and it starts to click, they get a big smile on their face. It’s great to see. And the people…I’ve met some of the nicest, most responsible, and respectful people in this sport.