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Greenmont Elementary to begin archery club

VIENNA — A new archery club is on target to open next month at Greenmont Elementary School, officials said.

Fourth-grade teacher Jonathan Farley said the school has purchased more than $3,000 in archery equipment thanks to grants from the West Virginia Bowhunters Association, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and the Greenmont Parent-Teacher Association.

“We ordered the equipment about a week ago, and we’re looking to start the week after Thanksgiving break,” in November, Farley said. “This is a national archery in schools program.”

Farley said the school will use 13 Mathews Genesis bows, which are designed for adults and children. The bows have a pull of about 10-20 pounds, he said.

“As long as they can draw the bow, they can use it,” he said. The club will be open to grades 4 and 5 only, he said.

“Maturity-wise, I feel that’s really the perfect age to begin teaching archery,” he said.

Farley said the benefits of learning archery are discipline, patience and physical exercise. The students have to learn to properly handle and care for their tools, have to learn to take their time while aiming and have to develop the physical strength and stamina to effectively use the bows.

“It also gives me the chance to connect with some students I might not otherwise be able to connect with,” he said. “You can have a student who is having trouble in school or who doesn’t participate in much, it gives them something to look forward to.”

Farley said in recent years more students have become interested in archery after seeing archery-based characters in popular books, television shows and movies.

“Katniss in the Hunger Games (young adult novels and movies) usually draws in the most interest,” he said.

Farley said he created an archery club at Kanawha Elementary School about four years ago and headed the club for three years. He said a similar club is in the works at Martin Elementary School.

“My goal would be to have these clubs throughout the county,” he said. “When I had the club at Kanawha, the students had the chance to compete at the state level, but I would love to see a county-wide competition.”

Farley said those wanting more information on the archery club or how to create a program at another school should contact him at Greenmont Elementary at 1-304-420-9544.

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