Tuesday, May 14, 2013
There aren't many times that I've envied the opportunities public school students have, but I did wish my son could participate in the National Archery in Schools program described in my Missouri Conservation magazine. Schnickelfritz has been talking about archery since Camporama last summer where he got a bull's-eye on his first try! I wanted a place where he could learn and practice before I committed to purchasing a bow (I especially wanted to see his reaction when he learned you DON’T get a bull’s-eye every time). Isn't it great when God provides for our wants as well as our needs? Back in March we attended the Truth and the Outdoors event and made PVC bows & arrows. The same ministry that brought us that program has begun offering archery lessons through Centershot Ministries. If you're like me and never heard of the program, here's a promotional video.
I was so impressed when I first arrived, not only to see 40+ kids eager to learn, but to see 10 men who would be teaching the archery skills and the Bible lessons. So often children's ministry and VBS programs are led almost exclusively by women. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I’m always please for my son to have male role models. This guy here must have come straight from work because he still had his mechanic’s shirt on.
Safety, safety, safety! In the first lesson the kids learn not to even approach the bow rack until they hear the appropriate whistle command. There are signals to Get Bows, Shoot, Retrieve Arrows, and an emergency stop everything whistle. Even in weeks six and seven they still get tests--an adult will throw a ball into the shooting range and the emergency whistle is blown. The student have to slowly release tension on the bow, return arrows to the quiver and bows to the bow rack, and stand behind the line.
There are more kids than bows so the group is split and half go to to Bible lessons (and have a snack) while the other half practices.
If your church is looking for a new outreach ministry, this is a program for kids and adults! If you’re looking for an already established ministry, I haven’t found a place on the Centershot website to find host churches by zip code, but according to a 2013 video there are more than 2000 participating churches.
We’ve got two more lessons in the 8 week session. So how’s Schnickelfritz doing? Judge for yourself.