Setting their sights

Published 8:05 am Friday, June 26, 2009

FRANKLIN—Arrows flew through the air at targets stuck to bales of hay this Tuesday. Some arrows hit the targets, some not, but all had fun as kids participated in a week-long summer enrichment archery camp at the James L. Camp YMCA.

The archery camp has become a staple of summer at the YMCA. Although summer enrichment programs only last a week, Jennifer Hoctor, childcare director, said the program is very popular and is also offered to day camp children all summer starting this year.

Daniel Belcher, camp coordinator, said the archery program began five summers ago.

“The kids come and learn how to shoot on a variety of targets. They learn the technique,” he said.

Shooting a bow and arrow can be tough for a young child who might not have the strength to draw the bow. Belcher and Esther Krieder have been teaching campers technique this week.

“I tell the kids to pull it (the bow) back to the ear and not pull it up to their face because they will hit themselves in the face. That should give it power enough to shoot it to the target,” she said.

For safety reasons, 16 children are allowed in the camp. Four campers can shoot at one time at the four targets. Some are learning and others are veterans.

“We have one kid who brought his own bow, so obviously he has done it before,” Krieder said. “We have a different group of skill levels here.”

Belcher said the archery camp is unique.

“It’s different than like basketball. There are not many camps around here like this one, so it’s special,” he said.

After just a few days, some campers already have shooting down pat.

“These kids are probably better than me,” Krieder a rising senior at Christopher Newport University and graduate of Franklin High School, said with a smile. “I can teach better than I can shoot.”