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A youth BB gun club is taking sign-ups in Peru and will hold its first meeting Jan. 22.
Jeff Sheppard and Greg Vaccaro of Peru teamed up with the Peru Police Department to get it going.
“There’s a lot of kids who don’t play basketball or volleyball and this gives them something else to do in the city of Peru,” Vaccaro said.
La Salle and Oglesby have BB gun clubs. Sheppard’s son attends the La Salle club and Vaccaro’s grandson is with the Oglesby club. The two men, who serve on the YMCA board, recently brainstormed about a Peru club.
“And I was on the BB gun club in Oglesby as a kid,” Sheppard said. Oglesby’s BB Gun Club is legendary for its longevity under the guidance of former police chief, Rudy Gandolfi. The Oglesby club is 50-plus years old and still going.
The Peru club will mirror the Oglesby program and Gandolfi might help out a bit, Sheppard said. It will introduce children to guns in a safe way, let them compete under adult supervision and teach marksmanship.
“These kids are going to learn to have rapport with the police officers as well,” Sheppard said. “You lose some of that intimidation factor.”
Vaccaro solicited donations from local supporters and businesses and, through the police department, bought 10 Daisy-brand youth rifles, he said.
“Peru police department will have officers there to help with training and we’re pushing gun safety, gun awareness, say ‘no’ to drugs and do good in school,” Vaccaro said. Awards will be given for perfect scores and top boy and girl shooters.
Vaccaro imagines that Peru, La Salle and Oglesby shooters could compete in a tournament next year, he said.
“We just think this is a great opportunity for the kids in Peru and we just hope this really takes off,” Sheppard said.