Teen Work Crews at National Matches Deserve Praise
Story based on Report by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
It takes lots of labor to make the National Matches at Camp Perry run smoothly. Many hard-working young people are involved each summer with the range crew and the target crew. Range crew personnel assemble (and later remove) range facilities used for the events. Target crew members collectively paste 250+ High Power targets a day and 80,000 pistol targets a season. The crew members’ countless hours on the Camp Perry ranges don’t go unnoticed. The National Match partners, the National Rifle Association (NRA), the Ohio National Guard, and the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) are grateful to have hard-working, dedicated young people working the Camp Perry ranges.
“The Matches would not exist without these kids,” said Tommy Whitten, CMP logistics department manager. Whitten has been with the CMP since 1994.
Joe DeCosta, now 81 years old, has run the National Match Summer Crew program for 30 years. Generally, each summer Joe hires about 60 boys and girls around the ages of 14 or 15, who have the potential to return for years to come, which, more often than not, they do.
“I don’t just want a worker. I want a young man or woman to be proud to be here, to be building this range for the National Championship,” he said. “Loyalty is very important, and these kids have been very loyal to me over the years.”
One of his loyal employees is Steve Young, 20, of Oak Harbor, who has been working at Camp Perry for the past six years. Steve enjoys the job: “You can start at a really young age, and make a pretty good amount of money. I like being able to sit back and watch the Matches. It’s fun with the guys out here too.”
Ralph Reichman, assistant range engineer, observes: “We get a different set of 4, 5, 6 kids from one family. Once one leaves, then the youngest one comes through. We’re like a big family.”
Brian Wyss, 18, of Oak Harbor, has been helping CMP for the last three summers. After shooting at the CMP Marksmanship Center, he wanted to become a part of the process: “I shot a lot of air rifle, so I know most of the people, and it’s fun getting to meet other people from around the world”.
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