We recently stopped into Scheels and bought my youngest child, Lily, a beginner’s compound bow. At 4 1/2 years old, this may be a bit optimistic, yet her brother Gus got his first bow about the same age. It was also a logical idea to keep the spirits high that evening as we headed to the local Archery range for the first time, hoping for a night of enjoyment.
The process of buying a bow for a young girl is pretty simple: find a pink bow, make sure the draw weight is as light as possible, get a pink case and assure her we can fletch up a few pink arrows. Beyond that, the mechanics of the bow are only relevant to her Dad who wants her to enjoy the sport and exemplify perfect shooting form. Now during this buying process, you also have to convince her older brother that his $200 bow is perfectly fine and it will last another year. Obviously he takes after his dad in enjoying sales…
As we shot that first night at the range from about 7 yards and I helped her draw the bow, then let her hold, aim and release, I was reminded of how powerful the exposure of the outdoors can be to our youth. It was a perfect evening weather wise, both kids got to take their turn on the firing line and learn the “manners” of the range. I reminded Gus that we needed to be quiet when we shoot to respect those shooting around us. It wasn’t 5 minutes later that I overheard Gus repeating this to Lily down at the end of the range. I guess it sunk in!
I truly believe both Gus and Lily had an absolute blast that beautiful night, with all their electronics, iPods and TV programs left behind. Never once did either of them complain or ask to leave. I actually had to remind them we needed to work our way home and get ready for the next day, only after we shot “one more round”. Then as we sat down to enjoy a bite to eat after shooting, both kids gave me “knuckles” and commented on how great the night was. I sat there for a minute, relishing in the success of the evening. Was it the trip to Scheels that created the excitement, perhaps because of our first evening together at the archery range or possibly the time spent learning a new sport and enjoying the outdoors? Nope…it was all because of a Pink Bow…way cool!