Elementary archery program right on target

Ready... aim ... learn.

Archery isn't the most high-profile sport in the nation, but Helen Haller Elementary School's physical education teacher hopes it finds a bull's-eye in Sequim.

Behind a row of youths with drawn bows in their hands and targets in their sights, Billy Reamer helps Haller students take their best shots. The archery program is an effort between Sequim elementary schools, local archers and national youth athletic groups to develop the sport and the ancillary skills - focus, determination, safety, sportsmanship, etc. - that it comes with it.

Reamer is using the National Archery in Schools program for students in third, fourth and fifth grade. He said the bow-and-arrow curriculum helps give youths who don't necessarily excel in traditional academic or athletic areas something to get interested in.

"Those are some of the best shooters in my class," Reamer said. "Anybody can step up and do this. It's a very neat program. It helps them in focusing and behavior."

Well, for a little while anyway. Reamer gets each class of Haller students for just one hour per week. For a four-week program, that's just four total hours. Reamer spends 90 minutes of those four hours explaining proper safety techniques.

Then it's to the targets set up inside the Sequim Boys & Girls Club gymnasium.

Students use Genesis-model bows with 10- to 20-pound drawn weights that the Haller instructor said are suitable for the smallest third-grader or the largest fifth-grader.

Soon the program heads to Greywolf Elementary School in Carlsborg and possibly to Sequim Middle School, Reamer said.

The archery program was made available by grants from several different sources, including: Easton Sports Development Foundation; Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Scott and Gary Gordon; Greywolf Parent-Teacher Association; Wapiti Bowmen, an archery group based in Port Angeles; and the Sportsmen Conservation Fund.

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