Fort McCoy News July 26, 2013

Center Shot wraps up class; next class in September

The Center Shot Archery Ministry program at Fort McCoy has taught youth and adult attendees about archery and life skills, while mixing in fun and Bible study.

Garrison Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Allen Raub said the program offered to military and federal civilian employees and their Family members, helped build self-esteem, character and develop closer-knit Families.

Photo for archery article
Youth participating in the Center Shot Ministry Program archery training line
up a shot at the targets. The program taught youth archery skills, while they
also built self-esteem, character and developed closer-knit Families.

Contributed photo

"I first learned about the program online from the Army Chief of Chaplains website," Raub said. "I saw the program had been done at Fort Hood (Texas) so we're among one of the first Army installations to offer it."

The program appealed to Raub because he had experience as an archery coach. It also offered a good opportunity to provide spiritual resiliency training and information to Family members.

"Archery is a fairly easy and very safe sport to do, and it doesn't take a great athlete," Raub said. "That means it is a good social sport even for people of different proficiencies."

The first program attracted 35 attendees, including adults and youth. Raub said the success of the program means the Religious Support Office (RSO) again will offer the course in 90-minute sessions Wednesdays in September, beginning Sept. 11.

The Shumway Family, which included Steve, Lauri and their son, was among those attending.

The Shumways attended so their son could learn the proper archery basics and skills.

"It was nice to see our son so excited about archery and develop a great interest in it," Lauri Shumway said. "The fellowship of a potluck meal and a Christian lesson was an added bonus."

She said the instructors all were very patient in teaching the youth the proper techniques and archery safety and giving the youth participants encouragement when they needed it.

Steve Shumway said the program allowed their son to gain confidence through learning a sport in which he had no prior experience.

"The chaplain was wonderful as a minister as well," he said. "He and his assistant instructors created a very positive, supportive (and safe) environment for the children."

Pete Hodges, his spouse, and several Family members also attended the training.

"We attended the Center Shot Ministry program as an opportunity to expose my Family to the sport of archery and to strengthen our Family values," Hodges said. "It also gave us the opportunity to meet new friends, enjoy delicious food and basically have lots of fun. My daughters have gained self-confidence, discipline and built a stronger relationship with God."

The Center Shot program provided the bows and equipment, with top-notch instruction provided by Raub and his staff, Hodges said. They are certified by the National Archery in the Schools Program. Registration for the next course is under way. For more information, call the RSO at 608-388-3528.