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Wrapped Up in Bows: Parkersburg YMCA pulls youth archery program out of its quiver

A group of participants learn proper form during the YMCA Parkersburg archery program. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — An archery program designed to help middle-school-aged youngsters learn the basics of the sport and help them learn life skills has been set up at the Parkersburg YMCA.

According to YMCA program director Criss Welshans, “I think we are trying to get a group of kids who are trying to find their place.”

This is a beginner program, and one will learn the basics of using archery equipment — learning the parts of a bow, how to use the bow, and how to shoot at a target.

Welshans said, “you don’t have to be athletic to do archery, anyone can learn to do archery.”

One of the goals of the program is to enable the students to participate in competitions.

Instructors in the YMCA Parkersburg archery program are taking aim not only at a target, but to boost their self-confidence. (Photo Provided)

Another one is to help them learn self-confidence, especially if they are having difficulties with participating in another sport.

“Archery is a sport you can do on your own and no one is going to make contact with you,” Welshans said.

According to a press release from the YMCA, the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) was started with help from funding from Bass Pro Shops and Cabella’s. The fund itself is a non-profit 501c3 funded by those shopping in their stores who round up their purchases.

The press release also said the grants are awarded to organizations looking to connect new people to the outdoors.

Welshans said the grant has allowed them to offer a program that they might not have been able to do because of the cost of supplies needed to launch the program.

The YMCA is providing all the equipment for the program, including bows, arrows, targets, and target curtains to catch the arrows when participants miss their target.

Also in the press release, in order to be considered for the NASP program, Welshans had to get her instructors NASP certified.

Three of those instructors, Vicki McGraw, Everett Orem, and Lyjle Strohl, volunteered to take training courses because they were very interested in exposing the community to archery.

Orem said, “Vicki and I both feel we can give something back to the community through archery, teaching life skills and self-confidence.”

NASP, an in-school program that started in 2002, seeks to improve educational performance for students in grades 4-12, also has a non-profit arm, which gave the YMCA a chance to participate.

The program started Jan. 5. The cost to be in the program is $45 for YMCA members, $60 for non-members, and there is financial assistance available.

For more questions about the program, contact Welshans at (304) 485-5585, visit the website at https://parkersburgymca.org, or via e-mail at chris.welshans@parkersburgymca.org.

Larry Laustein Jr. can be reached at llaunstein@newsandsentinel.com

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