Robin Hood, Katniss, Hawkeye, Merida — all pop culture figures defined by their proficiency with a bow and arrow. In recent years, these figures have popularized a much-loved Congressional Camp activity: archery.
Archery is open to rising third graders and older Day Campers. We introduce this unique and fun activity with a focus on learning. Archery counselors teach technical skills within the context of the social and emotional skills campers need to try something new and keep at it until they reach their goals. Campers not only learn to make arrow meet target, but the patience, perseverance, and safety to hit the bullseye and have fun trying.
When they arrive at the archery range, nestled in the back corner of Congo's sprawling field against the tree line, trained counselors provide step-by-step instructions to the group. Archery staff supplement this teaching style with one-on-one assistance to help campers refine their form.
Activities on the range include not only traditional target practice, but themed games. For example, on Star Wars day, campers take aim at pictures of Tie Fighters attached to different parts of the target, rather than the yellow bullseye. This helps campers mix up the routine get a little creative.
At Congressional, we introduce campers to this new and exciting activity fully aware of the risks involved when kids handle sharp objects (our arrows are blunted, but we treat them as if they're not, for safety's sake!). On the first day of every session, archery staff teach a safety lesson focused entirely on range rules and regulations. Campers familiarize themselves with safety procedures (everyone stands well behind the line of shooters); the equipment, what it is, and how it's used; and safety equipment such as goggles and arm guards.
Our archery staff are all trained and certified instructors, able to create a range routine and safe environment for our campers!
All it takes is a first shot to realize that archery is not as easy at is looks on TV. Those who keep at it, though, walk away with much more than a new hobby. They gain an amazing level of confidence in their new-found abilities and pride in themselves when they hit that first bullseye and hear their friends cheering them on.
Archery is a prime example of how (unbeknownst to them) campers come to Congressional not just to have the time of their lives, but to learn. At the archery range, campers learn a fun new activity, the skills needed to succeed at it, and a healthy dose of caution and respect to ensure it is fun for everyone.
While archery may not be easy, the learning process allows campers to take pride in their accomplishments. It's the exposure to unique opportunities, such as those found on the archery range, that makes Congressional Day Camp so special and keeps campers coming back summer after summer — always looking to perfect their shot and have a great time doing it.