Archery club is on target with students

The first meeting of Guilford’s new Archery club was held recently. The club provides equipment for students of all experience levels to practice the sport of archery.

The arrows flew at the first meeting of Guilford’s Archery club on Nov. 14. About 20 individuals with all levels of archery experience, including none, showed up to try their hand at the sport.

“A lot of people think of archery as a solitary activity, but it’s really not,” said sophomore Lindsay Lavenhar, the clubs president. “When you go to practices or tournaments, you meet lots of people and make really good friends. It’s a very social sport. Half the fun is hanging out with people.”

The very first thing covered was safety. Lavenhar explained how to handle a bow and arrows safely, how to check for damaged arrows, and some possible results of ignoring the rules. Fun fact: if the string on a bow is pulled back and released without an arrow, the energy travels back up the string and may cause the bow to explode.

Lavenhar has been practicing archery for four years, since her high school gym teacher handed out bows and arrows to the class, but with no actual coaching.

“I’m a big fan of the Lord of the Rings, so I got a replica bow and a target and practiced in my backyard,” Lavenhar said. “I had no clue what I was doing. I was horrible, but I loved it.”

After a year of lessons, Lavenhar became a certified coach and began attending national tournaments.

Lavenhar passed around arrows and bows for people to look at, while she continued explaining the basics.

Once everyone had the safety precautions down, they were divided into groups and bows and arrows were handed out. Lavenhar and club vice president Anne Marie Drolet illustrated the basic technique for firing a bow, and then coached individuals as they stepped up to fire for the first time.

Two targets were set up in front of a safety net to catch stray arrows. There were not enough bows for everyone, but the archers shared and took turns without any problems, graciously offering their bow to someone else who they thought needed a turn.

The assembled would-be Robin Hoods tested their archery mettle for about two hours, stopping only to retrieve arrows or allow a hapless bicycler to pass.

While this was the first meeting of the Archery club, it has been in the works since last year when Lavenhar wanted to start it. Lavenhar discussed the possibility with the Student Senate and planned to start the club earlier this year. She even kept in touch with Public Safety over the summer, planning to store equipment with them until it was realized that they didn’t have the room.

“The biggest holdup in getting started was finding a place to store the equipment,” Lavenhar said. “We had to wait for Aaron Fetrow to approve a location.”

“There was a lot of complaining in senate about it being violent and conflicting with the Quaker peace testimony,” said first-year and Milner Hall Senate Representative Daniel Gilbert. “I think learning something like this in a safe environment isn’t violent; it’s perfectly fine and healthy. We can do it in a safe manner; it’s not like we’re hunting.”

The sentiment was echoed by Drolet: “I’m vegan, and I love archery. It’s about learning a skill, it’s not about violence.”