For campers who take Archery or Riflery, their experience begins with the excitement of hitting the target. With each class beginners become more adept at using the equipment and the excitement grows when all 6 arrows in an “end” for Archery or the 5 shells in a “round” for Riflery land on the target. Such immediate success and instant feedback for each attempt, combined with the guidance and support of their counselor gives a real feeling of accomplishment and pride.
Archery and Riflery are individual sports at Camp Wawenock that develop fine motor control with a narrow internal and external focus. Archery is open to all campers. Riflery is limited to girls entering 7th grade, and older, with occasional exceptions. (This is based on the camper’s ability to handle the equipment comfortably and safely, as there can be sizing issues with younger campers.)
In both disciplines, with the goal of hitting the target, campers are coached to develop a narrow external focus on the target and body position while internally trying to relax and concentrate on breathing, as well as other techniques that fuel success. As basic techniques improve, through consistent repetition of fundamental positioning, aiming and shooting strategies, staff check and record scores and girls progress through multiple award levels. Fine motor control is enhanced as campers develop, practice and hone their skills. As a girl produces increasingly consistent scoring patterns, the challenge is increased in Archery either by moving targets farther away, up to 50 yards, or switching to smaller targets. In the case of Riflery the challenge is increased by changing to more difficult shooting postures beginning with prone then sitting, kneeling or standing.
Safety is of paramount importance in all activities in Camp and these areas are no exception. Lead staff members are certified in instruction and/or have previous experience instructing the activity. All staff are extensively trained in range safety rules and protocols, equipment inspections and sizing to each camper as well as how to introduce these concepts to participants and then supervise, instruct and coach effectively and safely.
Campers describe the satisfaction that they derive from participation in their chosen target sports in multiple ways; with the ability to gain instant feedback, to learn self correction and perseverance, and to tangibly measure their progress every day as recurring, positive themes. Over time, campers who participate in target sports learn that, in order to be successful, they must become excellent at focusing on the task at hand, blocking out external distractions and paying attention to the details of their overall body positioning, muscular tension, breathing and, ultimately, finer motor control – all of which can be important and helpful in other areas of their life – academic, artistic and athletic!