Archery is a classic sports activity for camp because kids love it! They learn a skill and the discipline of using an instrument that is more than a toy. Give an experience that they won’t get at home in the city.
Archery, a classic camp activity, was chosen to be added to the program for the 2013 season. We wanted to increase the skill development aspect of camp at Los Domos. This activity can be used to teach a rich skill set to children (learn rules, procedures, technique, use strength, practice). However, the equipment we found here in Mexico, if it was even here, was overly expensive.
Debbie Jorgenson got excited about making the activity available for the kids here. (This is Debbie’s third successful assist to get different activities going at Los Domos.) After a few disappointments in not being able to buy equipment because it was out of season, she found small compound bows with arrows. Nathan Caldwell followed up by contacting an archery provider and with the help of the CI treasurers got non-profit discount rates for the equipment he ordered. The result was that we ended up with the wide range of bows (+/- 24 lbs. to 50 lbs.) that were needed for the 8-17 year old kids that attended camp. Carrying proper documentation, Karen Caldwell transported the equipment by car from NY to Mexico.
David Caldwell designed and fabricated arrow and bow holders from 2” PVC pipe, heavy wire and 3/8” rebar. The same holders act as the storage containers for the arrows.
In training counselors, we introduced the idea of skill activities at two camps. With Richard Johnson’s consent, Nathan Caldwell took re-curved bows and equipment to the camp in Oaxaca. Nathan also taught/demonstrated the future possibility for Camp Caotepec counselors.
At Los Domos we wanted to incorporate the discipline of following commands and showing respect to the others on the range. To reinforce the concepts we used blowpipes as a pre-requisite activity. The one meter long pipes were made up at Los Domos of CPVC and use orange wire nuts for a projectile. The same safety, lineup, shooting and retrieving commands were used for both activities.
At Los Domos, using what she learned at camp Tapawingo in 2012, Rose Caldwell taught archery with the counselors and their cabin group. Also, the camp theme and evening devotions were related to the archery activity.
- Kids loved the activity.
- The procedure of introducing blowpipe during an activity period first worked very well and reduced the risk of enthusiastic young kids running out in front of arrows being shot by their companions.
- Arrows lost in woods took a long time to be found by the kids. Two arrows are still missing.
- Los Domos had a dedicated staff person, Rose, teaching archery. It is our goal that counselors work directly as possible with their campers. However, for this activity, it will require a greater investment of time to train counselors to a proper level of proficiency.
Ideas for 2016 at Los Domos
- Signage: Make plywood signs in the shape of arrows for directing the kids to the archery range. The range location is on the next property in the woods and is a bit hard to find.
- Use tarp to cover the corn stalk bales to protect from them from the rain.
- Make better use of the concept of a target by teaching precision verses accuracy.
- Buy more baled corn stalks for the target area.
- Use a tarp to cover equipment in case of rain during activity when at the range.
- Procure better storage containers such as buckets for arrows/holders and a barrel for bows.
- Develop a half-sheet notebook for training counselors and for their review. The manual should show equipment terminology and diagrams. It should have the vocabulary for signaling line up, shooting, retrieving, etc.
- Purchase little arrows for the compound bows (one set of six arrows).
- Consider a background net.
- Use a rake for grooming the range.
- Purchase four more larger bows for counselor training.
Approximately $490 were spent on equipment and range beyond the cost of the donated compound bows.
Archery, though not inexpensive, teaches a challenging set of skills and disciplines that engage users in ways not typically found in playground pastime. The smaller footprint style of three piece re-curved bows and compound bows have great advantages for transport. It allows them to be brought to Los Domos and shared around to other camps. Not only is the activity an attraction to children but the counselors want to be trained thereby encouraging the training process during the year that prepares them for relationship building and discipleship opportunities to be found in camp, church and community.