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Wrapped Up in Bows: Parkersburg YMCA pulls youth archery program out of its quiver | News, Sports, Jobs

ByMary M. Ward

Jan 22, 2022

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

PARKERSBURG — An archery program designed to help middle-aged youth learn the basics of the sport and help them develop life skills has been established at the Parkersburg YMCA.

According to YMCA program director Criss Welshans, “I think we’re trying to have a group of kids trying to find their place.”

This is a beginners 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 .

Welsh said, “You don’t have to be athletic to practice archery, anyone can learn to archery.”

One of the objectives of the program is to allow students to participate in competitions.

YMCA Parkersburg archery program instructors not only aim for a target, but also to build their confidence. (Photo provided)

Another is to help them learn self-confidence, especially if they have difficulty participating in another sport.

“Archery is a sport that you can practice alone and no one will contact you”, said Welsh.

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

The press release also states that the grants are awarded to organizations seeking to connect new people to the outdoors.

Welshans said the grant allowed them to offer a program they might not have been able to do due to the cost of supplies needed to get the program off the ground.

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

Also in the press release, in order to be considered for the NASP program, Welshans had to obtain NASP certification for its instructors.

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

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

NASP, a school program that began in 2002, aims to improve academic performance for students in grades 4 through 12, also has a nonprofit arm, which gave the YMCA a chance to participate.

The program started on January 5. The cost to participate in the program is $45 for YMCA members, $60 for non-members, and financial assistance is available.

For more questions about the program, contact Welshans at (304) 485-5585, visit the website at https://parkersburgymca.org or email [email protected]

Larry Laustein Jr. can be reached at [email protected]

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