Sue Kiesewetter reports:
Gabe Stacy picked out an arrow from the quiver in front of him, placed it on the bow, aimed, and slowly released it.
It was only the Kings Junior High School eighth-grader’s second day in an archery unit of his physical education class.
“I was surprised,’’ Gabe said. “I didn’t expect to get a bull’s eye.”
It is an experience Kevin Schwieger would like to give to students in grades 4-12 across Greater Cincinnati through His Pins, a project of the Heart of the Outdoors ministry, which he directs.
- Photos: Ministry hits bulls-eye
The ministry began an archery program for adults in 2004. Last summer Schwieger added a youth division and began an archery club at Mason’s Grace Chapel, where he serves as an associate pastor.
When school began, Schwieger started contacting junior and senior high school physical educator instructors and administrators to see if they would allow him to introduce archery to their students. His first demonstration was in October at Mason Middle School.
Over two days, 1,100 students – including special needs children – attended his presentation. Every student shot at least twice, some as many as six arrows.
“The students were thrilled with this opportunity. They were still talking about it two days after,’’ wrote Ellen Humphrey, Mason Schools’ physical education and health department chairman, in a letter to Schwieger. “I had students who had been absent come up and ask me if they were ever going to get this opportunity again.”
Schwieger brings all the equipment and uses the National Archery in the Schools program curriculum; he completed the organization’s certification program last summer.
Every presentation begins the same. He starts with a lesson on the history of archery and shows different bows. Then he demonstrates proper body form when shooting and how to hold the bow and shoot the arrows.
Before students pick up a bow or shoot an arrow they are taught safety rules.
“It was done in a very good, safe, controlled environment,’’ Humphrey said. “He was able to set some of the bows so that students who were not very strong, or students with handicaps were able to shoot the bow and arrow.”
Schwieger spent four days last week at Kings Junior High School conducting an archery unit in Andy Olds’ physical education classes.
“I fancy myself as a non-traditionalist. I’m in my 28th year of teaching and I never had an archery unit,” Olds said. “It was a great opportunity for the kids. I’m just as excited as the kids.”
Schwieger has brought his program to junior or senior high schools in the Little Miami, Mason, Kings, Lebanon and Lakota districts. He’s contacted or scheduled demonstrations in Loveland, Milford and Goshen.
The sport has become popular, in part, because of movies like “The Hunger Games,’’ “Brave’’ and “The Avengers,’’ Schwieger said.
But it continues through the years because it’s a sport that anyone can participate in – even those who aren’t skilled in the traditional sports of soccer, basketball and football.
Following each club session Schwieger spends a few minutes doing a devotional, giving the participants something to think about or asking them to look at their spiritual side.
In February a satellite archery club will open at Lebanon’s Countryside Community Church. He’s hoping to begin similar satellite groups throughout the region.
About His Pins
When: The next session for the His Pins archery club at Grace Chapel begins the week of Feb. 18 and runs for six weeks.
Sessions: Run 3:30-5 p.m. and 5:30-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at the church, 406 Fourth Ave., Mason.
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