HARRISON, N.Y. Come draw back your bow and let the arrows fly: Harrison is once again offering its residents archery lessons.
Archery instructor John Wilde was a special-education teacher at Harrison High School about six years ago when students asked him what he did for fun. When he responded that he likes archery, the kids wanted to start a club at the school. With the help of Mayor Ron Belmont, who was the towns recreation supervisor at the time, Wilde began giving archery lessons at Veterans Park.
Archery is a great sport and it doesnt matter how old you are, Wilde said. Its a thrill because each arrow is unique. Weve had older people and kids and even a father and son who have taken the lessons.
Wilde got his start in archery when he was a teenager at a summer camp in Williams Bay, Wis. Working as a camp counselor, Wilde picked up the sport quickly and began teaching it to other counselors and campers. In the early 1980s, Wilde helped the Lehman College archery team to a state title.
I was originally just shooting for fun, but then I decided to get certified and upped my level of competition, he said.
Wilde, who is also a member of the Sleepy Hollow Bowmen, said attendance at classes in Harrison has been up and down since he first started giving lessons in the town five years ago. Several students have returned to the class and are receiving more advice from Wilde on how to refine their shots and prepare for competitions.
I can teach someone how to shoot but its going to take your whole life to master it, Wilde said. Im still mastering it myself.
Archery is not only used in competitions; Wilde said it has been around throughout history in the form of hunting. And archery is an Olympic sport that gives the top shooters a chance to compete at the highest level.
Were just trying to get everyone to do better than they did last time, Wilde said.
Classes are held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Veterans Park. For more information, call the recreation office at 914-670-3035.
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