Jaden Pelland - Montana Interview by Zoe D’Angelo Nomination & Photography by Grace M Williams Issue 24 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination: Jaden Pelland is constantly trying to do her best at everything that she puts her mind to and loves helping anyone with no expectations of reimbursement or gratitude. She shoots for the Helena Hot Shots and for the past year has continually broken her PR's and loves learning different techniques from the other shooters. She had a rough start when she got to her new school but has now recovered and made the honor roll for the last two quarters.
Tell us about your experiences shooting for the Helena Hot Shots. Being a part of the Helena Hot Shots is fun and has led to amazing opportunities to travel around Montana, meet new people and there is a lot of down time in between events to make new friends and get to know other competitors. I represent my team, my coach (John McDunn) and my home range (Helena Trap Club). The responsibility that I have is huge. I have to show safety with my shotgun, contain my feelings when I miss a clay, and respect everyone around me. I take a lot of pride in telling others where I have learned how to shoot and who coaches me. My highest achievement has been bringing home the Montana State High Over All award for my Sub Jr. category for a tournament in Missoula. That means that I had the highest number of clays hit out of the entire tournament. I also broke my personal record, I shot at the most clays, 1300, since I started last year, and I also shot 91 clays out of 100 for one event. I was exhausted but, I was so excited for that accomplishment.
What was it like growing up a military child/brat? Sometimes it was hard. A lot of people thought that I was spoiled because I got to travel around Europe and live in Germany. Some people would say that I was lying to them about the places that I have been and things that I have done. Yes, it was possibly a onetime experience to see these amazing places. But, the sacrifice of not seeing my family that were in the states or not seeing my dad due to him being deployed, sometimes didn't feel like it was worth it. But I always made the best of any situation that we were in.
What is the most difficult thing about making new friends and constantly moving? The most difficult thing about moving and making new friends is learning how to quickly trust someone enough to be friends. I found that it was hard to find trustworthy and reliable friends. I have four main friends that have been there through the ups and downs. And. I would never trade them for the world.
Tell us about your mission trip, with your family, to Poland and Germany? What areas did you explore and see? My family was stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany for the Air Force for eight years and through our church, we would collect food and deliver it to Poland. It was fun, exciting and sad to help those in need. We were hosted by the Elim Christian Center out of Lwówek Śląski, Poland. It was crazy to see how little that these families had. But they were still happy and mostly content with their living situation as a lot of Poland has not completely recovered since World War II. I will say though, showing up to a house, box of food in hand, their door opens and then you see the biggest smile ever. These families and elderly are so happy. We cried a lot of sad and happy tears. For example, with my mom, little sister and a few others, we visited a family that had occupied a house after the original owner passed away. A father, pregnant mother and a toddler son. The husband could not find a job to support his family and suffered from depression. We delivered a box of food, talked with them, my little sister (not knowing Polish) played with their son, prayed and then gave many hugs before we left. The following year, we visited again to deliver food and we found that our box of food (supposed to last one person a week) lasted a month and he found a job in that time. They named their newborn daughter, America, because they felt that us, Americans, had saved them from starving. My reaction? Goosebumps. Why do you love helping others? It makes me feel more at ease to know that those that needed help are now in a better place than they were before. I would rather give my jacket to someone in need and give that person warmth. That warmth might last a lifetime and change their life to not only help themselves. But, possibly to help others.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? I would say to work as hard as you can and never give up. It's going to be hard. So, what? You will get there. Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? I want to win Nationals for trapshooting and go to college or vocational school. I have not decided on my degree or certification. But I have a while to decide that.
What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? I feel that I inspire others because I am a girl and younger than most shooters. I am not afraid to shoot against others especially when most are triple my age. I never let them intimidate me. I stay focused and try to get the job done. I also try to help anyone that I can, if I see that they are having trouble with their shooting stance, keeping motivated and possibly losing faith in their abilities.
Who do you find inspiring? I find that Shannara McDunn and Ramey Olsen inspire me by helping me during practices and tournaments to shoot better. My mom and dad inspire me to keep going and better myself whenever I can.
How do you keep yourself organized with everything you have on your plate? I write everything down. But I try to not overwhelm myself with everything and I just do one thing at a time. I also have an amazing support system from my family and my coach.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that wasn’t in your nomination? I like playing softball, going to the gym, and hanging out with my family and friends having fun.
Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? Apparently, my hidden talent was my ability to shoot. Before I tried out for the Helena Hot Shots in March 2018, I had never even held a gun, let alone a shotgun. I was actually quite surprised when I realized that I liked this kind of sport.
Pizza or Tacos? Soda or Water? Cats or Dogs? Tacos, no tomatoes. Water all the way. Dogs because it's fun to train them to do tricks.
3 Things on your bucket list 1. I want to travel all over Europe 2. Visit all of the states in the U.S. 3. Learn how to skydive
Anything else you’d like to tell us? I love to dance, and I don't care who sees me. My friends think that I am crazy because, I actually like going to school. I love a good vanilla Frappuccino and acting silly with my mom. I also can play the flute and snare drum.
Jaden will be featured in Issue 24 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!