Some of the seven Cub Scouts in Forest Park’s Pack 109 pretended to be Robin Hood as they tried shooting a bow and arrow at the Archery Custom Shop, 7240 Madison St., on April 14.
The group received an archery lesson as a reward for selling more than $3,000 worth of popcorn during their spring fundraiser.
Alex Falconer, one of the pack’s Scoutmasters, said he wanted to give the children a lesson that went along with Cub Scout values.
“We wanted to recognize the kids’ achievements,” Falconer said. “With archery, they get to learn outdoor skills, which are fundamental to Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. They get to learn responsibility, and learn about a different sport.”
One Cub Scout was excited to set foot inside a shop he’d only seen from afar.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said eight-year-old Keegan Brown. “I looked in the window, but I’ve never been inside. It is a little weird, but cool at the same time. I’m excited to learn how to shoot an arrow.”
Nathan Wick, who has been an archery instructor for two years, gave the boys three-fingered archery gloves to protect their fingers, as well as arm guards. Wick also taught the boys the different parts of the bow and arrow, and the correct way to hold the bow.
“People think it is easy, but it’s not,” Wick said. “It is really important to teach the kids the safety aspect of it – not to shoot until they’re told to shoot, and to shoot from a certain distance.”
The shop offers 20-yard ranges to practice shooting. The children shot at paper targets and balloons.
Terry Pryor, the owner of the shop, said shooting a bow and arrow helps improve hand-eye coordination
“People don’t know how hard it is to actually do it after watching it on television,” Pryor said. “It takes hand-eye coordination and total concentration on you, the bow, and the arrow.
“Archery is a Zen approach. I love shooting a bow and arrow. Not a lot of people can go to work and say they love their job. I do,” he added.
Jill Wagner, another Scout Master, said that the archery lesson was also a way to help kids understand the importance of supporting local businesses.
“When you go down Madison, there are these trendy bars and great restaurants, and then there’s the archery shop, which seems like it is from a different time and place,” Wagner said.
“We thought it would be a great way to support a local business and our local resources- most of us did the popcorn-selling on our own block,” Wagner said.