So we selected one of the many local archery clubs. We chose this one based on three criteria: (1) they offered free trial workshops, (2) they encourage all types of bows (more about that coming), and (3) they have a cute bunny as their club mascot.
The last time I handled a bow was in junior high. For about two years I did archery as an afterschool elective. It was neat but there were only a few other kids in it, my high school didn't have it, and so it fell by the wayside. I'd really forgotten about it until recently Kit suggested we try out archery. (I dunno if I should say this but she was primarily inspired by a certain elven character in a certain very popular movie.)
I was kinda lukewarm on it until she found this club which teaches recurve bows. I had only used a compound bow and it never really "felt right". For those who don't know, a recurve bow is a classic double-bend bow (and the one used in Olympic competition). The type used by most competitive and sport archers today is a compound bow, utilizing offset pulleys to make it possible to draw and hold with less effort.
We actually used recurves with no added equipment, known as a bare bow. I have to say that this was far more interesting than my experiences with compound bows! You could feel the tension in the string as you pulled it. The simplicity of the equipment was really part of the beauty of it.
We were part of their Sunday beginners' workshop with four other people (a father and three kids). They started with the basics: safety, protective guards, holding the bow, nocking the arrow, draw points, etc. Stuff I won't go into since either you're interested in archery and know it or aren't and don't want to read about it.
Then we headed over to the practice range. Eight yards from little hay bale targets. I'm happy to say that, much to my surprise, some of my training came back to me! I managed to hit close to where I wanted to. The aim on recurves is very different from compounds, evidently, so I kept hitting high and left until some sighting technique was explained.
After a bit of practice and basic technique, they took us out on a course they have. This was fantastic! Way beyond anything I expected. After all, my previous foray into archery had me facing hay bales at twenty yards... and that was it.
This was a trail through the redwoods near the crest of the peninsula! The club has several miles of trail with 28 targets set up at different ranges and elevations. We shot at only about 10 of the targets with our beginners group (some couldn't be hit from close range due to path angles), but it still took over an hour and a half.
I have to say I'm really pleasantly surprised at how well I did (though still very much an amateur). My past experience wasn't entirely lost. On the last shot, at about 20 yards, I hit two bullseyes with two arrows! (And it wasn't entirely a fluke, either, though it was above average for my shooting on the course.)
Quite a fun day, everyone agreed! Kit and Jackson did very well, considering they hadn't used a bow before; each of them managed some impressive shots. I think this is definitely something that we'll have to continue exploring.
And, just to make people who didn't read the cut tag wonder, I'll close with the line... ;)
...but he'll probably recover from the wounds and drop the charges. We hope.