If zombies ever descend on Arlington, young archers Teagan Thibodeau and Crede Collins should have little trouble taking out the bad guys with a well-placed arrow.
Crede, 9, and Teagan, 8, were two of about a dozen participants at a recent summer archery camp for kids at southwest Arlington’s Cliff Nelson Recreation Center. The archery mini-class was one of many affordable options for youth and teens offered in the summer months by the Arlington parks and recreation department.
As for the zombies, those were targets the campers drew, colored, mounted on a target and shot at during day two of the four-day camp. While heat and surprising July rain made things uncomfortable outdoors, the archers spent the camp inside the cozy confines of the air-conditioned gym at Cliff Nelson.
I loved it. It was actually really fun trying to hit the target.
Teagan Thibodeau, 8, on an archery class offered by the city of Arlington
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“What did we talk about the other day? Zombies,” instructor Kurt Reichenstein told the kids. “Guess what? I got the zombies, and it will be easy for you to put the zombies together. And it’s going to be kind of neat because each of you is going to color the zombie differently.”
As it turned out, taking down the zombies was a piece of cake. “It’s actually really easy,” Teagan said of shooting the arrows.
Maybe it’s not all that easy. “It was really hard at first,” Crede said.
Reichenstein taught the participants how to properly hold the bow, how to safely load the arrow and how to aim and fire. He also quizzed the campers to make sure they understood each step of the process.
“We learned safety with the bows and we also learned how to put the arrow into a bow and we also learned how to shoot a bow,” Crede said.
During one turn, Teagan had no trouble landing her second shot on the target, which, at the time had not yet been covered with a personalized zombie face. “I loved it,” Teagan said. “It was actually really fun trying to hit the target.”
The first day of camp, Crede enjoyed aiming at another unusual target. “We shot a Coke bottle,” Crede said.
Colby Collins, Crede’s dad, liked that Reichenstein was teaching the campers to shoot quality compound bows rather than a more basic open bow. Collins, who enjoys hunting, formerly had a compound bow of his own.
“I never got into it that much,” he said. “I usually use a rifle. I used it a couple times then sold it. But the kids love it.”
And adults love that summer camps like the archery class offer kids a constructive and athletic alternative to sitting around at home in front of a video game console or tablet. So, whether boredom or zombies is the problem, archery is an effective answer.
“If he was home, he’d be sitting there playing video games,” Collins said. “Let’s give the kids something to do.”
Optimist Club football
Registration is underway for Optimist Club of Arlington youth football. Play begins Sept. 9.
Fees range from $40 for 5 on 5 flag football leagues for Pre-K and kindergarteners to $125 for 11 on 11 tackle football for grades 4-6. Games are played Saturdays at Harold Patterson Sports Complex through the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Over three courses, King shot a total of 205, good for 10 under par. King, 15, also won the 2015 contest.
Stephen English: firstname.lastname@example.org, @sbenglish74