(Jackson, Wyo.) - In the past few years, the sport of archery has exploded in popularity due to movies like The Hunger Games trilogy and Brave. Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation is responding by expanding their archery classes and events.
"Over the last 4 years, participation in our archery programs has increased very much," said Mike Estes, Youth Sports and Outdoors Programmer for Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation. "We have definitely seen and increase in participation, but also an increase in more girls participating. I think kids have fun doing it. The sport really appeals to a wide range of kids and adults."
The Rec Center offers an Explore Archery program for elementary school kids (3rd-5th Grade) and for middle school kids (6th-8th grade). The Explore Archery classes go through all the basics of archery including range safety, shooting a bow, and building their skill level. The skills are taught using fun games and activities during the 6-8 week program. Through a partnership with the Teton Literacy Center, the Explore Archery program is FREE for middle school students. The next Explore Archery programs begin on November 7.
After kids have learned archery basics, they can join the Jackson Hole Archery Club Junior Olympics Archery Development (JOAD), which is part of USA Archery, the governing body of Archery in the United States.
"Once you become a member [of USA Archery] you are eligible to win their advancement awards and also compete in sanctioned events," said Estes. "We have one 9-years-old who competed in Las Vegas at the USA National Indoor Championships and got 9th place out of 60 in his division."
For young archers, don't miss the free Turkey Shoot on November 19 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Kids 15 and under are invited to participate in the free event to win gift cards for turkeys and pie. The event is held in the indoor range and kids shoot at a paper target [with a turkey on it] for points. There are separate divisions for boys and girls, then ages 8 and under, 9 - 11 and 12 - 15. First and second place in each division win a gift card for a turkey and pie. There will also be a raffle for the kids to win other prizes.
Archery at the Rec Center isn't just for kids. The organization offers a Try Archery Range Introduction class and then open range on Mondays. The Try Archery classes are a one hour introduction to target archery. This class is intended to teach students range safety and whistle commands, get fitted for equipment, and learn the steps of shooting a bow and arrow. The archery range at the Recreation Center is open to the public on Monday evenings. Participants must have completed a Try Archery class prior to participation and all equipment is provided.