Aiming for fun: Class teaches youths about archery

Published 6:56 pm Monday, February 25, 2019

As snow continues to pile up outside this winter, there is a place for area youths to stay active, improve their skills and gain friends all at once.

Austin Parks and Recreation and the Cedar River Archery Club have teamed up to provide a youth archery class that allows kids from ages 9-18 years old to come in and learn how to shoot a bow and arrow. The class is held in the 4-H building at the County Fairgrounds and it meets 6-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Tim Hansen began as an instructor last year and he’s been impressed with how well some of his young archers have performed early on.

From left, Courtney Akkerman, age 9, Lilly Tapia, age 11, line up their shots at a youth archery class at the Fairgrounds in Austin recently. Rocky Hulne/

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“Some of the kids are blowing me out of the water. It’s fun to watch,” Hansen said. “When they’re hitting fives and fours, they’re progressing. We’ve got some kids that are in the second and third year out. We’ve got kids that are really stepping up and it helps them get out of their shell.”

Youth archers spend much of the class shooting from 10 yards out. Safety is emphasized and fun is encouraged.

Eric Potter, an instructor for the course, said some of the archers have started to keep track of their scores and competed against themselves to gage improvement.

“They all seem to have a lot of fun. We teach them basics and safety is always the number one priority,” Potter said. “The kids all enjoy it. It’s still an athletic sport, but you don’t have to be an athlete to succeed. This is one of the few sports where boys can compete right along with girls. We have a couple of girls that can very much outshoot the boys.”

Hansen said the archery teaches kids plenty of lessons, including a little bit of math when they add up their scores.

Jaxon Gorman lines up a shot at a youth archery class at the 4-H building in the Fairgrounds recently. Rocky Hulne/

“They learn about patience,” Hansen said. “You’ve got to practice. It isn’t something in where you can just come in one night and shoot well. It might take awhile. They learn patience, practice and respect for each other.”

The class typically runs until March 14, but it may go later this year due to weather impacting the schedule. There is also a summer youth archery class that begins in the first week of June in Packer Arena.