With the recent trend of archery constantly appearing in mainstream media through fictional characters such as Katniss Everdeen of the ‘Hunger Games’ or Hawkeye of ‘The Avengers,’ the traditional sport has now started to spread throughout rural Minnesota all the way to the small town of Clarkfield.

With the recent trend of archery constantly appearing in mainstream media through fictional characters such as Katniss Everdeen of the ‘Hunger Games’ or Hawkeye of ‘The Avengers,’ the traditional sport has now started to spread throughout rural Minnesota all the way to the small town of Clarkfield.

The city of Clarkfield had set their sights on establishing an archery program for the local children. After reaching out to the Yellow Medicine County 4-H chapter, the gears started turning for a 4-H based archery program to be the next logical step in bringing the sport to the youth of Clarkfield.

The program will consist of students learning how to handle and shoot a bow and arrow in a controlled and safe environment. 4-H archery programs utilize a series of preset lines, such as waiting and shooting lines, and whistle blasts to organize the archers with safety first being the top priority.

Alongside purchasing  a myriad of new arrows and various equipment, the Yellow Medicine 4-H purchased a brand new set of Genesis Bows just for the fledgling program. These compound bows are designed to be universal due to adjustable limbs and draw weights and are able to be utilized by virtually any archer. By having the Genesis Bows, archers of various skill levels and physical abilities in Clarkfield will be able to participate and learn.

One of the big highlights of 4-H archery programs is that the kids will get a chance to show what they have learned during the Minnesota 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife Invitational, or more commonly referred to as the ‘State Shoot’ by the 4-H members. The State Shoot will take place on Friday, September 9 through Sunday, September 11 in Alexandria. Archers from the Clarkfield program will be given the chance to participate if they have completed 15 total hours of on-the-line shooting with a certified instructor and eight hours of wildlife education.

The class will be taught by Clarkfield resident and 4-H certified archery instructor Caitlyn Mahlum.  Mahlum has prior experience working with and teaching youth as a camp counselor at Green Lake Lutheran Ministries of Spicer and as a day care teacher at Trinity Lutheran Church of Bay City, Michigan. A traditional-style archer and bowhunter, Mahlum is eager to share her knowledge of archery with those interested in learning the sport.

Yellow Medicine County 4-H Program Coordinator Alicia Webb stated, “I am just super excited to have Caitlyn come and be our archery instructor, it’s been something we’ve been working on for the past couple of years.”

Area youth who have completed fourth grade and up are eligible to participate in the program. An informational meeting and registration was held at Wednesday, June 8 at the Clarkfield City Hall at 6:00 p.m. The first lesson of the year will take placed the following Wednesday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m. The plan is to host the archery lessons in a new archery range that will be set up in an open area that is located West across the street from the Care Center. Those who could not make the June 8 meeting are  welcome to come early and register on June 15. The cost for a summer’s worth of lessons is $30.

Webb gave the following encouragement about the program, “It sounds like a really great sport for kids to get into, especially if they need somewhere where they really feel like they excel, archery is a sport where you can really work hard at it and feel accomplished with something that you’re doing. It’s another outlet for kids to be able to plug into and learn something new, and that’s what 4-H is all about, giving kids those opportunities to be able to do that.”