My first was a JC Higgins bolt action (Sears rebranded Marlin). Got it when I was 11. Took it to a NRA sponsored marksmanship camp for a week when I was 12. Took it camping and backpacking. Shot crows, rabbits, squirrels and lots of targets, bottles and cans.
It was a Chritmas present from my parents, but I know now that my Brother-in-law was largely responsible for buying it and setting it up, as he was more of a gun buff than my Dad. Don't know where it was picked up, but I know my BIL cut the barrel down to 18.5 inches, recut the crown and chamfered the outer edge of the muzzle. He also full length bedded the action and barrel and worked the trigger to a crisp, clean 3.5 lbs.
I've seen the same model of gun in pawn shops for under $100, but to me mine is priceless due to the thought and involvement that went into making it my first .22, from my family members. Still have it and shoot it pretty regularly. It's handy, and very accurate.