Aiming for the young: Cedar River Archery Club to hold 2nd youth shoot

Published 8:40 am Sunday, July 23, 2017

For the second year, the Cedar River Archery Club is giving area youth the chance to hunt moose, deer and mosquitos.

The shoot will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 5 at the club’s location just east of Lansing. It follows a very successful first-year youth shoot that saw about 150 kids take part.

It’s part a continuing effort to open the world of archery to those that may not know exactly what it is about. It’s also a day to provide something for families to do together.

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“We want to promote a family atmosphere and a day of fun,” said club president Rod McDermott, sitting in a picnic shelter, surrounded by the acres and acres of woodland running along the Cedar River.

Kids and their parents will be able to walk the scenic trails, shooting at several 3D targets stationed through out. There will also be a BB gun shoot, balloon shoot, more stations, nature walk, fur and pelt samples and, of course, hot dogs.

But while the club is made up primarily of hunting enthusiasts, that’s not the point of the youth shoot. Rather it’s a multi-tiered effort to introduce both children and their parents to archery as well as getting people outside.

“We want to get families involved,” McDermott said. “We don’t stress hunting constantly, we promote archery. It’s also a good way for families to walk around and see nature.”

Even though the day is geared for youth, members found that parents were getting involved as well.

“A majority of parents shot and for many it was their first shoot as well,” McDermott said.

Last year, another goal with club leadership was to let the area know about the club and if possible boost a membership that had dropped in recent years.

McDermott said that he has seen a bump in those numbers.

“Our membership rate is slightly up, which is good,” he said.

That continued work to get the word out and grow membership, though, begins with events like the youth shoot and the weekly youth night the club holds.

Through this effort, the club is hoping for a continued build up of not only members but of interest in general.

“It goes hand-in-hand,“ McDermott said.  “We have people starting out young. We want to make this the best club in the state.“

Making it the best club in the state, however, starts with making its members the best outdoorsman in the state and in some ways that’s where the youth shoot is at it’s most important.

During their time at the youth shoot, young archers are not only introduced to archery but to life lessons including safety and conservation and living with the world around them.

“No. 1 is safety and respect for the animal,“ McDermott explained.  “Respect the world around you. It’s God’s creation and you’ve got to respect the animal.“

The youth shoot is also part of a larger effort to get the word of their club and archery out to the public, including working with Austin Parks, Recreation and Forestry.

“We go hand and hand, “McDermott said.  “Parks and rec has a winter league so we’re trying to keep enthusiasm for archery year round. “

And of course, the shoot wraps back to a  common thread: family.

“We want people involved,“ McDermott said.  “Any one of us will walk the course. We try to make it fun and parents like it because they can start to build a reporte with their kids.“

In case of rain, the event will be moved to the next day, Aug. 6. The Cedar River Archery Club is located east on County Road 2 on the east side of the Cedar River. Look for the sign and big arrow.