There were more than 40 kids between the ages of 7 and 17 assembled. All of them had a hungry, gleam in their eyes as they got ready to shoot with bows and arrows. This has become a regular sight for us on Sunday mornings as we go with our daughters to Junior League Archery at C&B Archery (C&B) in Hicksville, NY.
Archery started off as something unusual and different for our family to try together, but it has become a favorite family past time and regular activity. The league is an opportunity for kids to regularly practice and learn about shooting at C&B. Depending upon the session, league runs 8 to 13 weeks where the kids go each weekend to shoot and get scored on either Saturday or Sunday morning from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. As part of the morning, the kids generally get a mini group lesson about something to think about or try to do while shooting. Then after some warm-up shooting, they get scored on how well they shoot 10 rounds of 3 arrows for a total of 30 arrows with each arrow having a maximum score of 10 points (for a maximum score of 300).
When we first started going to the Junior League it was a little intimidating. There were so many kids and some of them had these fancy, really expensive looking bows, while our daughters were using the free included rentals. However, the staff was friendly and worked with all of the kids as they were shooting throughout the morning – giving little pointers here and there to help them improve. Although some families were friendlier than others, all of them were nice. (I honestly don’t know if I can say that about all of the other activities my daughters have tried.)
As my daughters started out, some of the more experienced kids, the staff, and even other parents would congratulate them or give them a big thumbs up when they shot a good round. Another parent told me that what she really liked about league was how it really helps the kids to not only build strength and discipline, but the way the program is run it really builds their self-confidence and I couldn’t agree more!
It runs like other sports leagues where they track standings at each competitive distance. However, there is no separation based on age or gender which makes for some unusual competition. One session, my barely 4-foot-tall, barely 50 pound, 7-year-old daughter was shooting with a 6-foot-4-tall, 200 plus pound, teenage-boy. Shooting next to each other, they looked like David and Goliath, but it was all in good fun!
The staff is pretty laid back and understands that families might not be able to make it every week so kids can go during the week to make up their score or just go to practice. My daughters have probably gotten more one-on-one instructional time going during the week than while they’re scoring on Sundays. All of this additional practice time and instruction is included with league membership!
Then the last day of the session is a winner-take-all tournament with gift certificates to the C&B store at stake. Afterwards, they have a pizza party and give awards to the league and tournament winners. We get all of this great fun and learning for only $13.50 a week!
- Skills: Visual acuity (focusing on the target), strength and gross motor (pulling back and holding the bow string), discipline (following safety rules and directions), patience
- Preparation: Not really any – just wear comfortable shoes and don’t wear anything billowy.
- Cost: $13.50 a week x the number of weeks in the session, so a 12-week league costs us $162 which includes UNLIMITED practice time, bow and arrow rental, and a T-shirt. If your child wants to go 6 days a week (they’re closed on Mondays), she can go without any additional cost! In the sea of different children’s activities, this is one of the cheapest and best buys for your money!
- Time & Energy: It’s a 25-minute drive from our house. C&B allots 2.5 hours for shooting, but they’re generally done before noon.
- Contact Info: C&B Archery is at 11 Commercial St, Hicksville, NY and online at www.cbarchery.net. You can reach them at 516-933-2697. You should talk to Dustin, the manager, who runs the Junior League program.