Warren, Pettis put on hunting camp for special needs children
NATCHEZ — Ricky Warren would do anything to make his son, Chandler Warren, feel normal.
But with a special needs child, it would seem like they’re not many opportunities out there for them to interact with other children and participate in normal activities.
So Warren teamed up with Allen Pettis and several others to find activities for special needs children to get out and do something.
The duo came up with hunting trips as a great way to get the children to be active.
“They can’t join the workforce like normal people, so it gives them another outlet,” Warren said.
Warren and Pettis hosted their first Miss-Lou Kids Outdoors Camp last week, and gave 23 special needs children and other youth a day they won’t forget.
“It’s something that we’ve done in the past, but the guy that’s been doing it got away from the kids, so we decided to do it on our own,” Pettis said. “This was our first hunt to get them together and we have a lot more planed when it comes to fishing, bow hunting and shooting skeet.”
The Outdoors Camp took the special needs boys and girls and their parents to Sibley campgrounds and went on a deer hunting adventure.
“It gives them a challenge to go out and do things like hunting and kill a deer,” Warren said. “They learn how to handle a gun, and they had to take a hunter’s safety course like everybody else.”
Pettis said seven children actually shot and killed deer, including Warren’s son, Chandler.
“This is not Chandler’s first deer, but he talks about how excited he was,” Warren said.
Though seven children shot a deer, it doesn’t mean the task was easy.
Pettis recalls a parent helping his son, Scottie Stanley, hold the gun up with the child’s finger on the trigger. Pettis said all Stanley had to do was pull the trigger, but he hesitated.
Once his father looked back to see what the hold up was, the gun went off and gave him the scare of his life.
“I can imagine you wondering when the kid is going to pull the trigger, you turn your head to look at him and see what he’s going to do and you’re relaxed, and all of a sudden the gun goes off,” Warren said. “It’ll scare you to death.”
The duo had a raffle fundraiser in which they gave away several prizes from sponsors like Sports Center and Bowie’s Outfitters in order to give the children the trip and have refreshments afterward.
“We gave away a gun, a grizzly cooler, three video cameras, four pairs of binoculars, two gift certificates to Lil Dagos and more,” Pettis said. “We just wanted to raise a little money so we can have food for the kids and have money for when we decide to do a skeet shoot.”
Warren and Pettis said the children and the parents all had a great time, but in order to keep doing more outdoors camps, they’ll need more property.
“We’re looking into getting a couple more landowners to let a couple kids on their property,” Pettis said. “We want to make it bigger for the kids and let them have a good time.”
If they can get access to more land, Warren said he has big things in mind for the children.
“We know we’re going to have the skeet shoot and the archery shoot,” Warren said. “We’re working on a bass tournament next spring, and we also talked about a squirrel hunt, but we might not do it this year. We may do another deer hunt before the end of the year, but it all depends on landowners if we can access the land.”
The Miss-Lou Outdoors Camp is currently in the works of scheduling their next activity for the children.