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Young Life hosts shooting benefit at Classic Clays

Young Life Chattanooga is hosting a benefit for local sportsmen and women, but it doesn’t involve golf clubs. It requires a shotgun.

The fourth annual Clays Classic on Aug. 21 will bring both expert and novice shooters together to support the Christian youth organization that reaches out to high school students across the Chattanooga area. Montlake Classic Clays in Soddy-Daisy, with its 13-station sporting clays course, is home to this annual benefit.

“It really is a fun time,” said Executive Director of Young Life Chattanooga David Haskins. “Some guys out there are really great shots and it’s just fun watching their competition. The camaraderie it brings is always a fun thing.”

The idea for a shooting benefit came from event chair and local businessman John Davis, who had seen another ministry plan a similar event.

“I’m a horrible golfer,” Davis laughed. “I don’t really like to play golf; I like to shoot, and another ministry was doing a shoot. And I just thought, why wouldn’t Young Life do a shoot?”

Clays Classic has grown each year, starting at about 50 shooters and now averaging more than 100, he said.

Davis explained that though his own kids weren’t involved in Young Life, he met Haskins and was immediately drawn to the Young Life cause.

“If you ever heard [Haskins] speak in a public gathering, you would instantly know he’s the real deal. It’s hard not to share the enthusiasm like that,” said Davis. “Young Life gives high school kids a chance to experience Jesus Christ on a very nonthreatening level. It’s all about kids having fun and kids being kids.”

Haskins’ daughter Ellie Haskins can vouch for that. The upcoming senior and student body president at GPS has been involved in Young Life since she was a freshman.

“It’s a great community to be involved in,” she said. “They accept everyone; it’s just incredible. I’ve gotten to really deepen my relationship with Jesus. I’ve made a lot of friends from other high schools in Chattanooga.”

Young Life sends college-age volunteer mentors into area schools to build relationships with high school students, her father explained. They hold weekly club meetings, go to camps in the summer and more.

The money raised at the Clays Classic benefit will go toward the organization’s general budget, so it supports seven staff members and helps kids go to camp, among other things, said Haskins.

“[The benefit] supports our most valuable resource in Chattanooga, which is our kids,” he said.

To learn more about and register, visit chattanooga.younglife.org or call 634-7188. Montlake Classic Clays is located at 2009 Mowbray Pike in Soddy-Daisy.