From Brave and Robin Hood to The Hunger Games and The Lord of the Rings, the bow and arrow is a classic choice for heroes and heroines throughout history and popular culture.
Now, thanks to a new program from Oliver Nature Park’s Nature Education team, Mansfield area outdoor enthusiasts have the chance to aim for a new and exciting mark. Introduction to Archery classes start in late December at McClendon Park East. The classes are broken down into four age groups, from 5 years old to adults, and designed specifically for idea safety and skill development conditions. All equipment is provided, and no prior experience is necessary.
“We decided to offer this class as another great way to enjoy the outdoors and respect nature,” said Yvette Dorval, nature education specialist and USA archery-certified instructor. “Plus it’s just really fun.”
The classes will begin with an emphasis on safety and proper handling. Students will learn about the different bow types as well as how to develop proper stance form and target aiming. Archery is adaptable for any age because bows can be adjusted to fit however much weight you can pull on the string. According to Doral, the benefits of archery training go beyond the target range and can have a long-lasting impact.
“Once you find the right place to aim and the proper stance you just want to keep getting better,” she said. “It kind of gets to be meditative because you’re only thinking about one thing and tuning out everything else. Archery builds incredible confidence through practice and also respect for nature. The more time you spend outside, the more conscious and caring of it you become.”
The program begins this winter with a series of hour-long classes, divided by age group, on weekends and school holidays. Based on demand, the Nature Education staff plans to expand the number of dates offered and the length of each individual class giving more people an opportunity to try it out. They have the option to return to get additional training to improve their skills.
“Learning archery is a practice in perseverance,”Doral said. “You’re not going to get it right the first time. But as with just about everything else, practice makes perfect.”
Registration for Intro to Archery is available online now. All equipment and training is provided, and classes are held at McClendon Park East, 740 West Kimball St. For more information, contact Oliver Nature Park at (817) 804-5789 or email [email protected]