If just one in three hunters adds one new person to our sport, we’ll secure a strong future for generations to come. So be the one. Ignite the passion that can change the course of someone’s life forever. For all hunting has done to enrich your life, join the +ONE movement and invite someone hunting. Share your experience with posts on social media. #PlusOneMovementSM
Take The Pledge
Invite Someone Hunting

One hunt can be all it takes to create a new hunter for life. With your help, we can recruit the next generation of hunters and shooters and grow America’s hunting heritage like never before. Join the +ONE Movement and invite a friend on your next hunt. Share your passion with posts on social media with #PlusOneMovement and #LetsGoHunting.

10 Commandments of Firearm Safety
Share these tips with your +ONE.
Always Keep the Muzzle Pointed in a Safe Direction
Simply put: Never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot—even when dry firing.
Keep Firearms Unloaded When Not in Use
Never load a gun until you are ready to shoot. When not in use, store firearms and ammo separately.
Don’t Rely on a Gun’s Safety
Treat every gun as though it can fire at any time. Safeties are mechanical devices that can become inoperable without your knowing.
Be Sure of Your Target and What’s Beyond It
No target is so important that you can’t take the time before pulling the trigger to be certain of where your shot will stop.
Use the Correct Ammunition
Using improper or incorrect ammunition can destroy a gun and cause serious personal injury. Always double-check your ammo.
If the Gun Fails to Fire, Handle with Care
If nothing happens when you pull the trigger, keep the muzzle pointed downrange, unload the gun, and dispose of the faulty cartridge.
Always Wear Eye and Ear Protection
Exposure to a firearm’s report can damage hearing; adequate vision protection is essential at all times while shooting.
Be Sure the Barrel is Clear of Obstructions
Before loading a firearm, open the action, check that there’s no ammo in the chamber or magazine, and make sure the barrel is clear.
Don’t Alter or Modify a Gun, and Service Regularly
Any alteration or change made to a firearm after manufacture can make the gun dangerous. Also, follow the manufacturer’s service recommendations.
Learn the Mechanical and Handling Characteristics of the Gun
Every firearm is different. Never handle a gun without first familiarizing yourself with it and the way it works.
How to
Getting Youth Involved
Be enthusiastic and don't just tell your young hunter why you love hunting - show them.
Gun Fit
One of the easiest ways to ensure a good time afield is make sure the gun fits properly.
Opening Day
Develop your own traditions including a +ONE and countdown to opening day in your area.
Celebrate the Hunt
One of the best ways to celebrate is a game dinner for the entire group after a successful day afield.
Staying Home to Make a Difference—John Anonni and the +ONE Movement

By Mark Demko

Seventeen-year-old Elisbeth Tejada-Moya walks into the classroom, shaking the water off her coat. She’s just taken a 15-minute bus ride from her school, followed by a 15-minute walk in the rain, to get to an afterschool program where she learns about foxes, firearms safety and forestry, all in the same afternoon.

While many kids might opt to skip a voluntary program like this on a day when the weather is so bad, one after another the students file into the room eager to learn their next lesson. The reason? They’re part of Camp Compass Academy, one of the most innovative outdoor mentoring programs in the nation.

Camp Compass Group

“When I come here, I feel safe. It’s like home,” Tejada-Moya says. “I started coming to this program last year, and as soon as I did, everybody was so fun and so nice. For people to do that when you come in, you feel loved. So, I said, ‘Why not continue coming and learn?’”

A Challenging Start

Growing up in a housing project in Allentown, the third-largest city in Pennsylvania, John Annoni needed an escape from troubles at home and in the projects. He found it in an adjacent woodlot, where he would marvel at the birds and squirrels while dreaming of far-off destinations he’d read about in magazines like Boys’ Life.

“I allowed Mother Nature—the squirrels, the starlings and the rat—to consume me by me chasing them,” Annoni says. “What I found was that when I was doing that, there was an absence of worry.  Mother Nature, her critters and that pursuit saved me.

“One day I saw a ringnecked pheasant in a dump. It was the most beautiful bird I’d ever seen. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I went back weekend after weekend after weekend to see if I could find it again. That’s where the passion first came from.”

Camp Compass Students Hunting

From those humble beginnings, Annoni developed a rich fascination with the outdoors, learning to fish and hunt and ultimately deciding to pay it all back while serving as a teacher in the Allentown School District. He started Camp Compass in 1994. But rather than setting up shop at a local rod-and-gun club, he opted to stay in inner city Allentown and make a difference in the lives of the students who might need it most.

“I was sitting in the classroom, working with the kids, the same kids I’m working with now, thinking that the books aren’t cutting it,” he says. “I was coaching basketball, and I just really wanted to do something I thought could change lives.

“In the city, there are enough [afterschool] programs, but there was nothing here that was based on what helped me as a kid. I looked around and started working with kids, using an outdoor curriculum.”

Today, Camp Compass is widely recognized as one of the most unique outdoors education models in the country. The nonprofit organization is geared towards introducing inner-city youth to hunting and the shooting sports. While Annoni is reluctant to put a figure on how many individuals he’s impacted, he says thousands of students have been exposed to the outdoors via Camp Compass, while well over 200 have gone through every level of the program.

Growing Kids Through the Outdoors

Through Camp Compass Academy, students are introduced to firearms safety, hunting and shooting over an extended period of time, something that’s especially important since most come from families that have little to no exposure to the outdoors pursuits. Visit the classroom and you’ll see individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds, both male and female, soaking up everything Annoni and the other academy instructors have to share.

John Teaching

Students at Camp Compass Academy spend two years learning in the classroom as they earn the opportunity to go afield.

The curriculum is broken into five levels called “The 5Es”—Exposure, Exploration, Extension, Effective Application and Example Mentoring—and students work their way through the stages over a period of years. Annoni says the most important level is Extension, where the kids participate in the academy weekly.

“Growing kids into [hunters] in a place that’s nontraditional (like downtown Allentown) is not only high-risk, it’s high reward,” he says. “It has to be very strategic, and that’s what we’ve built here. We are as diverse as it comes and that is the beauty of us.”

Camp Compass Classroom and Students

Image Courtesy of Amanda Snyder.

When students enter Camp Compass, they must first prove their dedication to learning and their classmates before they head afield. In fact, an individual has to complete two years before he’s even able to go on a hunt. The reason: Annoni’s goal is not to just take them hunting, but to help make them hunters. That’s why the most dedicated students end up heading afield on multiple occasions, sometimes traveling to destinations as far away as North Carolina, Texas and North Dakota to pursue big and small game.

Petersen’s Bowhunting Editor Christian Berg says Annoni has been successful with his students because he’s authentic.

“He came out of the Allentown projects and faced many of the same struggles as today’s teens,” says Berg, who’s known Annoni for two decades. “The outdoors was instrumental in shaping his life and helping him achieve personal success. Now, as an educator and passionate outdoorsman, he is pouring his life back into the lives of others.

“There are many, many great things about the Camp Compass program, but, at its essence, I believe one of the big reasons it succeeds is because John sees himself in his students and his students see themselves in him.”

Camp Compass Classroom

Talk to the students and it’s easy to see the passion they have for the program and their mentor. Sixteen-year-old Hector Buxo, who comes from a family that doesn’t hunt, says his parents were surprised when he told them he wanted to join Camp Compass. Now, five years in, he has pursued whitetail deer, Canada goose, pheasant, turkey and more.

“I liked how different this was from the other programs there were,” Buxo says. “It was something totally new. I really liked how we all work together, and we all talk together.”

Shane Reznick, 14, who has been in Camp Compass for two years, agrees the comradery between students is what makes the program work.

“It’s a community of people as well as hunters,” he says. “We learn a lot about the environment, protecting the environment and making sure you respect the animals.”

Beyond the Classroom

As a result of Camp Compass and his work introducing others to the outdoors, Annoni has been featured on outdoor television shows and national news like CNN and NBC Nightly News. In 2008, Outdoor Life named him one of the 25 most influential people in hunting and fishing, and two years ago he was one of the first non-faculty members selected as a co-principal investigator for a Cornell Lab of Ornithology National Science Foundation study. Not surprisingly, he receives high praise from others in the industry.

Camp Compass Student Hunting

“John has quietly gone about his mission of reaching inner-city youth for decades,” says Mossy Oak’s Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland. “He does it with little money, little support from the hunting industry, little exposure—but big passion. He reaches kids we cannot because he was one of them. His story is amazing, and he makes me humble.”

After a quarter-century leading Camp Compass, Annoni is as committed as ever to his students, but he is also looking for other ways he can help grow hunting and shooting sports. As a person of color, one area he feels he can lend his expertise is in broadening diversity and inclusion efforts. He also wants to share the Camp Compass philosophy with others from coast to coast, as well as start teaching adults who want to learn about mentoring in the hunting and the shooting sports. While acknowledging it would be hard to start other Camp Compass-type programs due to the time required, he says he’s proud of the work he, his assistants and Camp Compass supporters have done over the past quarter-century.

Camp Compass Student Hunting

“I did not think I would be doing this program this many years later because of the stamina that it takes,” he says. “I knew that somewhere along the journey, whether it was five or eight years in, that we were going to impact kids and families who would not have been impacted otherwise.

“Is it practical to say Camp Compass will be celebrating a 50-year anniversary? No, that’s not practical. But, while I’m still breathing and able to help, the Camp Compass philosophy can be shared across the country and what people do with it is their choice.”


John Anonni and Camp Compass clearly demonstrate that mentoring is key to growing hunting and the shooting sports. NSSF’s +ONESM Movement, which encourages all active hunters and target shooters to extend an invitation to someone new and show them how safe and enjoyable these pastimes are, works to achieve the same goal, but on a nationwide basis. Annoni says the National Shooting Sports Foundation is a keystone when it comes to recruiting and retention in the hunting and shooting sports.

“Its +ONE Movement is a critical initiative. It is really needed and it is able to move the needle with the long arms it has. NSSF is positioned like no one else to impact the future of hunting.

“While my focus has been primarily youth, lately adults have been reaching out to me about hunting,” Anonni added. “The +ONE Movement has the ability to be a spectrum of support for people of all ages.”

For more information and to learn how you can help introduce someone to hunting and the shooting sports, visit LetsGoHunting.org and LetsGoShooting.org.

You may also be interested in:

The Ultimate Hunting +ONE Goal: Building Lifelong Hunters

5 Essentials for a First Hunt
Blaze Orange
Safety first. Plus, an orange hat and vest makes a great welcoming gift to hunting.
Bring an extra bino so the newcomer can stay engaged even during the slow periods.
Wind Checker
Helps drive home the importance of always knowing what the wind is doing.
Hand Warmers
As every hunter knows, no matter how good the gloves, hands will get cold.
Large Thermos
Nothing helps pass the time like a warming cup of coffee or hot cocoa.
Join the +ONE Movement and share your experience with posts on social media.
Do you love being a hunter and storyteller? Try telling the story of the hunt and your encounters with wildlife through video. A phone camera can do the trick and not be too intrusive in the experienc...
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