Two weeks into the new season, archery instructor Al Campsall said the Junior Olympic Program is busy.
Run through the BC Archery Association and sponsored by the Williams Lake Sportsmen’s Association, the program is offered locally at the clubhouse on Bond Lake Road.
“Kids are given archery instruction every Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. or 6:30 to 8 p.m. for our indoor program,” Campsall said.
Thirty-five children were enrolled last season. Many have returned and there are lots of new recruits.
While most of the competitions take place in the new year, the youth are focused on honing skills.
Some of them have their own equipment, others use equipment provided by the program.
A retired principal, into his fourth year as an archery instructor, Campsall said the kids listen well.
“I find they want to know where the lines are.”
This season there are a few more boys than girls. In other years it’s been the reverse.
Often after a new movie, such as Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit hit the theatres, he finds new kids will emerge to sign up.
“The movies definitely have an influence,” he chuckled.
Ed Oliver also instructs the kids, and Campsall described him as a more traditional archer.
“Ed uses recurve bows,” Campsall said, explaining those are the type of bows people made as children out of a stick and string.
His bow choice is the compound variety, and he’s found more kids are interested in them because they are easier to shoot and more accurate.
The cost of taking the program works out to about $100 for six months, once the dust settles.
“New people are always welcome,” he said.
On Tuesday evenings, he’s offering a six-week archery class for women, with help from star archer 18-year-old Breanne Carlson.
“Last year 35 women showed up so I decided to offer the program again,” Campsall said.
As she paused from one-on-one instruction, adult archer Mary Thurlow said she signed up because her children are archers.
“I thought if I’m trucking them around I might as well join in,” Thurlow said.
Catrina Ertel said she took the adult course last year and really enjoyed it.
“Al was so much fun I had to come back and improve my 3D shots,” she added.
For Lisa Martin the archery was an opportunity to do something with her daughter.
“I play hockey with my older daughter and realized this was something I could do with my younger daughter,” Martin said.