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Regional Family YMCA archery class provides summer activity for area children

Lori Padilla | Trib Total Media
Allison Tepper, Nora Gillott, Rob Labuda and Parker Carte (from left) aim at the target while taking part in the archery camp at the Regional Family YMCA of East Huntingdon Township.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 12:26 a.m.

There are many summer activities for children to be involved in.

Sports such as baseball and softball are popular, but the Regional Family YMCA of Laurel Highlands, located in East Huntingdon, also offers a number of activities aimed at getting kids outside.

One of the activities is archery. Each Wednesday, YMCA program director Shawn Thompson oversees an archery class, which is geared toward introducing area children to the sport.

“It's been going on for about six years,” Thompson said. “We start with a safety class, and we go about teaching them the proper way to shoot.”

The class is for children ages 7-14, many of whom have limited experience when it comes to archery. However, Thompson believes that it is a nice skill for children to learn at an early age.

“I think there is a need for it in this area because a lot of kids enjoy the outdoors,” Thompson said.

The class, which is held at the YMCA's outdoor range, is limited to six to eight participants. Thompson noted that there often are more girls in the class than boys.

“We only allow six or eight in a class because of safety reasons, and the classes always fill up,” Thompson said.

The summer archery class runs for four weeks in the summer. A six-week class is also held in the winter.

“The kids shoot for about 45 minutes in groups of five,” Thompson said. “They shoot at a distance of 10 to 15 yards, depending on their skill level. The more they get to shoot, the better they get.”

Tony Pouliot, 12, of Connellsville, has taken part in the archery classes for several years.

“The program teaches me how to shoot a bow well,” Pouliot said. “When I first got in the program I really liked it, and Shawn is very nice to me.”

Pouliot noted that he uses the time at the range to reach personal milestones.

“I'm always working toward a goal to see how many arrows I can get in the red part of the target,” Pouliot said.

In addition to archery, Thompson also conducts weekly fishing trips to area lakes and streams. There are upcoming trips to Donegal Lake and Laurel Hill. Thompson also instructs a golf class each Tuesday at Timber Ridge Golf Course.

Summer programs are starting to wind down, but Thompson noted it is not too late to get involved in some of the final classes of the season. For more information about cost and upcoming programs, email Thompson at

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at

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