I thought I'd take a short break from blogging about whitetail related topics. This isn't exactly tied to whitetails, but then again it is.
Our county 4-H fair begins this Saturday. Tomorrow night ends the 4-H Archery Club's bow shoots for '13. We will finish with a prizes night where every club member who shows up gets a prize or two depending on how well they have honed their archery skills. Either way, each of the 49 members will receive some kind of gear or equipment that is designed to grow their passion for archery. This is the night all club members look forward to attend.
I'm one of two of the archery instructors certified through the Indiana Hunter Education Program. On the archery end of the shooting sports spectrum, we are tied to NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program), even though we are a 4-H Club. Over one weekend at Purdue University, I was able to acquire a certificate through the State of Indiana and NASP. Purdue Extension does a fantastic job with hosting and coordinating this program for educators across the state.
I've lost count of how many years I've been doing this, but I can truly say there isn't anything better than seeing a kids face light up when they hear what you say, apply the learning, and hit a bulls eye on the target. My three girls all now shoot in the club and I do it primarily for them and to teach the importance of this primitive skill (granted compound bows have come a long way from the days of sticks and sharpened stones). I think it makes them better human beings, but what I really like the most is when one of my girls out shoots a cocky boy trying to puff up his chest. Funny how an arrow in the 12 ring ends any question of who is best. This is truly one sport that levels the playing field (age, gender, height, weight, disability, etc.). It all comes down to disciplined form and skill.
What I have noticed is the discipline it teaches kids with the 11 steps of shooting. My hope is that they will transfer this type of discipline into other aspects of their lives. Some of the kids have a tough road ahead of them and this may be the one sport / hobby that keeps them on the right track. A few kids shoot a couple of years and then leave the club. More than not remain in the club year over year. When I see them out in this small community, they always seem to bring up the 4-H Archery Club.
I'd love to post pictures of the kids in the club, but I'm a little funny about doing so with kids that are not mine. Hopefully I have painted the mental picture of the joy archery brings to young kids. If you have such a program in your respective area, I urge you to support it to the fullest. In today's world, archery proves there is more to growing up than just video games and TV.
Thanks for visiting my blog and please keep coming back to allthingswhitetail.com.
Andy Hayes is a devoted husband and father of 4 kids living in West Central Indiana. Outside of his family, his passion is hunting whitetails. He does not claim to be a professional hunter, but simply wants to share what he learns during his quest to improve whitetail habitat and hunt mature bucks.