For the first time, the city of Ormond Beach Leisure Services offered archery lessons every Thursday of its eight-week Enviro Camp for kids, with two four-week sessions, at the Environmental Discovery Center at 601 Division Ave.
Siobhan Daly, cultural center coordinator for the city of Ormond Beach, recalls a 7-year-old girl who showed hesitation before trying archery at the city's summer camp.
"When she was signing in, she was like, 'Uh, I really don't want to do this,'" Daly said. "We said, 'You'll go through the initial class course with us just like everyone else, and then when we get out there, we'll see how you do.' She shot a bullseye the first arrow. She was really excited about it; her confidence built."
Every Thursday during the camp, staff members (who previously took archery classes) taught kids age 7-10 the 11 proper steps of the sport as well as archery safety.
"What's really cool is we've had several success stories where children have come in in the morning very hesitant about even trying it," she said. "We do take them through a 40-45 minute course on safety, on the commands, and then we bring them out and work on them individually."
For its third year, the city of Ormond Beach held the camp at the environmental center. It was held at The Casements for 10 years before that.
"Once this environmental center was built, we thought it was just a natural thing to move over here since we call it Enviro Camp," Daly said. "We use the trails and do nature walks and things like that."
While the July 9 to Aug. 3 camp is full, Daly said she hopes to have archery at next year's summer camp too.
"You're getting the chance to get out in nature," she said. "We're teaching them the rules and regulations, and we're teaching them safety factors. So, those are all important things that they need to learn. Obviously they're all kids, but we want them to know when they can be a kid and act like a kid, but then when they need to listen and focus, so I think it teaches them discipline and focus. It obviously is a sport. A lot of them have never done it before. It builds confidence."
The Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network loaned the center the archery equipment for the summer camp. Every Wednesday of the camp, staff took the kids fishing at a pier near the environmental center as well. Daly said that a grant through Fish Florida provided each kid with a fishing pole to take home.
The Environmental Discovery Center offers Saturday events throughout the fall as well. For more information, call 615-7081 or visit https://www.facebook.com/EnvironmentalDiscoveryCenter.