Three Rivers archery training program

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The Three Rivers Archers Club has started a summer archery training program for those ages 12 and up.


“It’s a new program,” said Club President Matt Gilbertson. “It’s for kids who have shot NASP (National Archery in Schools Program) and want to move on, but it’s not only for kids. It takes the same skills but uses them in a different way.”


The main difference between the two programs is this one uses compound bows, which are designed for hunting.


“They have better sights, better arrows and better results,” he said.


“We looked at doing a summer program and going the NASP way that’s already infused in our two communities. The schools do it and the summer rec program, but what do the kids do after this?” he said. “This uses a different bow, it’s shot differently and it’s intended to advance the kids into the sport more.”


All the equipment is supplied by the club, but archers who have their own can certainly bring and use them. The first meeting was held Wednesday night, focusing on bow safety.


The cost is $50 for the 12-week session, which is held at the Three Rivers Archers Range by the Bois de Sioux Golf Course and Chahinkapa Park in Wahpeton. The class meets once a week, from 6:30-8 p.m. each Wednesday. There are about a dozen slots still open, but the club could purchase additional equipment if the demand is higher, Gilbertson said.


“We’ll gladly take beginners,” he said. “We’re not going to turn anybody away.”


Students will learn proper draw technique, sight alignments, stance and shooting techniques. Emphasis will also be placed on safety.


Bows can be adjusted to a 15-pound draw, so archers don’t need to be physically strong to pull the string back.


“These bows could fit somebody as young as 8,” Gilbertson said.


He also encourages girls and women to try it out.


Instructors will start with the basics and correct problems right away. Students will advance at their own rates and Gilbertson said they have the manpower to work with groups or individuals separately.


Many of the club’s members are going to become certified instructors and students will learn from the North Dakota Bowhunter Safety program.


“It involves tree stand safety, tracking deer or bear, the proper spot to aim when hunting,” he said. “It’s a lot like gun safety but geared toward bow.”


Three-dimensional targets will be used later in the course as students advance.


The club hopes to increase its membership by teaching a new generation about the fun of archery.


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