New Berlin — About 185 children plus parents attended the first Ojibwa Bowhunters Youth Day where kids learned archery and took part in other activities at the archery club grounds at 3045 S. Johnson Road, New Berlin.
The children learned the history of archery and were taught basics before they headed out to the archery range.
There also was a tug-a-war, a potato sack race, face painting, a bean bag toss, T-shirt making and BB gun, airsoft and laser gun shooting ranges. Kids also learned about spin casting and turkey calls and could enjoy a nature walk.
Three bows were given away, and there were many raffle prizes.
The whole day was free to the public.
The Youth Day was an outgrowth of the Ojibwa Bowhunters' outreach to children, especially those with with health problems, those whose fathers are away, such as in the military, or those who are needy, said club president Dennis Drewicz.
He and his son, also named Dennis, have spoken to schoolchildren at high interest days in several communities, Drewicz said. They also have worked with organizations that help children with medical conditions such as asthma and heart problems.
"The groups wanted to incorporate archery," into what they could offer the children, he said. Drewicz was well able to assist them because he taught archery classes of up to 70 children when his son was a boy.
The Ojibwa Bowhunters' program Archers that Care helps children by standing in for fathers who are gone or serving in the military. Their fathers sometimes took their children bow hunting or did target practice with them, and the club members try to keep that tradition alive, Drewicz said.
Similarly, Archers that Care enables underprivileged children to try their hands at archery, Drewicz said. If they like it, the club helps them obtain a bow, and if they find they don't have an enduring interest, their parents haven't lost any money by investing in a bow that would sit unused.
The club wanted to expand on those outreaches, so Youth Day was born, and his Drewicz's son was put in charge.
"It was a pretty good showing for the first one," Drewicz said.
"The members were proud of what they did," he said, and that bodes well for a second Youth Day next year.
"Based on the feedback we're getting, chances are 80 to 90 percent we'll be doing it again," he said after the event.
But first, the club will hold the second Veterans Appreciation Day this year on Wednesday, Aug. 13. Target shooting will be free for veterans and those currently serving in the armed forces and half price or $6 for their families and friends.
— Jane Ford-Stewart
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