Organizers with the Ponoka and Area Archer’s Club are excited about a new youth league being launched this fall.
The league is designed for those ages six to 17, and the 10-week session runs from Sept. 27 to Nov. 29 on Wednesday nights from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Ponoka Moose Hall.
“We have equipment that can be rented for the youth,” said Chris Felt, the club’s founder and president. “But there are limited spots for it, so I imagine it will probably fill up pretty fast.”
It was just this past April that the club was officially formed, and it’s been going strong since day one, he said. There hasn’t been an age restriction, but he said it’s important to form a time for youth in particular to sign on and receive specialized instruction in the sport.
“We are really focused on getting the youth more involved so the club will have a future,” he added.
“There has also been a lot of interest in a youth program — so there is a gap to fill there.”
Overall, things are moving along very well.
“There are more than 50 members in the club now,” he said.
“It runs every Monday night in the Moose Hall. We did scale back our hours for the summer — typically, archery clubs are closed in the summer — but ours has had a consistent five to 10 members every Monday evening. The Moose Hall does help out a lot, too.”
Those who join the archery club also become Moose Lodge members, so this enables the group to utilize the facility, said Felt.
“That is basically the rental for the facility,” he said.
“We do have to do some fundraisers, and we will be doing some (to help) with our contribution to that. But without the Moose, the club wouldn’t be where it’s at right now. It probably wouldn’t even be formed without the Moose Hall.”
For Felt, a passion for archery stretches back to his childhood in Veteran.
As to launching the Ponoka and Area Archer’s Club, Felt emphasized how it takes a community of supporters to spark the vision and bring it all to fruition.
The goal is to provide a friendly, non-intimidating atmosphere, he said, adding that Monday nights feature a range of activities and events, all geared to bolstering archery skills and contributing to a really fun evening.
The feedback has been very encouraging too, with many folks telling Felt how great it is to have this club up and running in the area.
“We also will have an outdoor range — it’s already staked out where it will be. So that will also open the club up even more. People will be able to shoot just about seven days a week.
“It will be in behind the ball diamonds (near the Lodge),” he said.
Rounding out the club’s board are Leah Bennett (vice president), Jennifer Smith (secretary/treasurer), Brad Smith, Chuck Bond, and Brandon Bolin who serve as directors.
Meanwhile, Felt, who owns The Archery Box Inc., said there is also the ability for guests to visit and see if it’s something they would like to explore further.
“There’s a camaraderie to it. There are some nights that I go out to the club and I’m helping others. Sometimes, I barely shoot at all,” he added with a chuckle. But it’s a fulfilling time as he offers guidance and enjoys the conversations with members.
“It’s been nothing but positive.”
For more about the Ponoka Archery Club, check out ponokaareaarchersclub.ca or find them on Facebook at ‘Ponoka & Area Archer’s Club.’