Birdie’s Story

Reading Rifle and Revolvers Advanced Junior Signs with West Point Reading rifle junior goes from a beginner marksman to West Point Cadet and NCAA Rifle Team Member.

It is hard to believe it all began with a summer camp and a phone call. Almost three years ago I had a call from a mother about rifle classes for her two young daughters Barbara “Birdie” Forgues and younger sister Phoebe. They had been introduced to shooting at the summer camp they had attended in Vermont and were very good. The mom had attended the same camp and rifle training. Funny how life events can come full circle. She said the girls enjoyed it so much they wanted to do more. This led mom Tara on a mission to find out if there were any such shooting classes offered to juniors. To her surprise and many others there are several programs offered on rifle instruction and safety by rifle clubs throughout New England. (Believe it or not, yes in Massachusetts.) We have actually produced many juniors who have gone on to the Olympics,NCAA rifle Teams and Military Academy’s from our programs.

The difference in rifle programs is that many do not offer advanced classes for the beginner to graduate to. Advanced programs take participants to higher levels where they compete and travel for competitions and awards.
Advanced shooters can take their skills to the level of a Collegiate Shooting Team, Military Academy or Service Teams. Either program can lead to a lifetime of love for the shooting sports and a sharing experience from generation to generation.

Luck was with us three years ago when their mom Tara found an article about me by the CMP and called my number. This started a chain of events that would change a young lady and her family’s lives forever. I am not sure they really knew what they were getting into at the start, but they were willing to try it all. Practice, practice and more practice. Suits that weigh slightly more than the sweatshirts they wore at camp, along with “fashionable” shoes and jackets that at the time may or may not have matched. Left and right we threw more and more at the two of them and they kept on going and excelling. I think the divine moment came when it was time to travel to Camp Perry for the first time. I love to see the faces of the parents when I start to explain the process for travel. Driving takes about 11 hours at a good pace, but many. (Ok all of the parents have not driven probably more than 2 hours in a day.) So when you tell them 11-12 this can be the deciding moment if they stay or leave the program. Even flying instead of driving can cause a slight moment of panic when you start to explain about gun cases, ammo, luggage weight, TSA etc.

But with a true sign of a leader Birdie just said “sure we can do that”! I am not sure 100% if at the time her sister and mom felt the same way at the start. But once you have done it, the attitude changes to, “Camp Perry, no
problem” that’s easy. All of my advanced juniors have learned how much they can do and accomplish if they just try and push themselves to achieve the levels they want not only in shooting but in all aspects of life.

We have been exceptionally lucky to have had so many come through our beginner and advanced programs and have excelled or are excelling in their life’s journey. Now Birdie is to join their ranks by accepting an early appointment to West Point for the fall 2024 semester not only as a cadet, but also as a member of their International Rifle Team.
Her time with the team is not over. We have several matches, Regionals and Nationals to compete in. So be watching
out for future news of the team’s accomplishments. We also have two other graduating seniors who are also aiming high and will for sure grab onto that golden ring, just like Birdie.

We are always sad to see them go, but are so lucky to have had a small part in steering them in the right direction for the career path they have chosen and look forward to the amazing things they will accomplish.

If you know of a young person who has expectations of going further in rifle instruction and are not sure of what direction to point them in, feel free to contact me. Maureen Trickett at or contact the CMP
and they will be happy to help you find information close to home.