Aim: Summit’s 4-H archery program fosters a new hobby and helps the archery community grow
Growing up, sometimes there’s nothing more important than getting involved in something you’re passionate about. Whether it’s a team sport, activity or game, teens can often learn valuable life lessons when they participate in these programs.
One such Summit County business that has worked for the past 20 years to shape the next generation of adults is the Summit County 4-H Archery Program. Every summer, children aged 8 to 18 have the opportunity to learn more about themselves through the sport of archery.
This season, the program met at the Summit County Archery Range throughout the summer with mostly young children participating every two weeks.
Once at the archery range, located off US Highway 6 south of Dillon, Dr. Ed Hastain personally instructs his young group of arrow throwers as they take aim.
On Monday, August 8, the children involved in the program participated in their last 4-H archery gathering of the summer. Under mostly sunny, blue skies, arrows zinced left and right of the participants’ line of fire. Once everyone had shot, Hastain whistled to announce that the children could safely retrieve their arrows to shoot again.
Between sending arrows, Hastain gives participants pointers, telling them how to adjust their shot in order to hit a certain point on the target.
“What we’re doing here is involving them in archery,” Hastain said. “We teach them to shoot. We teach them safety and a certain responsibility. We see kids who could hardly hit the target when they started and are now shooting very well.
For Hastain, who has helped the 4-H archery program for more than 20 years, archery helps kids learn new skills and meet new people.
“Anything a kid can do to build some confidence and have a good time, being outdoors without being on a computer game or video game,” Hastain said. “Most of these kids became good buddies over the summer and became a group of friends. It is something that these children can do in the future.
In addition to the Summit County 4-H program, the Summit County Archery Range also hosts camps and a 3D league hosted by C&K Archery in Frisco throughout the summer.
“It’s a great outdoor hobby,” said Ken Borlie of Summit County Resource Allocation Park. “Those are the basic fundamentals, whether they want to keep shooting on target or go hunting one day.”
Not only does the Summit County Archery Range provide an opportunity for young children to learn about the sport, but it also allows adults to hone their archery skills.
The archery range, which is on landfill and overseen by the Summit Range Association, hopes to grow the shooting sports community in Summit County. Having a 4-H archery program is a solid first step.
“We want to make it more user-friendly and free for the public,” Borlie said of Summit Archery and Shooting Range.
The archery range has been around for almost 14 years, but only recently has it expanded and diversified. Largely through grants from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Friends of the National Rifle Association, the Summit County Archery Range was outfitted with realistic 3D targets.
The addition of the 3D targets helps increase the popularity of the sport in Summit County and generate interest in the activity.
“It’s increased tenfold since I started helping with the lineup,” Borlie said. “You drive down the highway now and you always see cars here. You can tell there’s always someone shooting here now.
Those who have used the archery range are encouraged to donate money to the donation box located on site. The Summit Range Association will use any money donated to continue to improve the experience visitors can have on the range.
To donate to the lineup over the phone, people can call Summit County Resource Allocation Park at 970-668-4290 and ask for Borlie or Aaron Byrne.
“We have good local support with good partnerships and everyone continues to participate,” said Byrne. “It’s here to stay and we’re ready to put more into it so our youngsters can come to train, the 4-H kids and just the recreational users who come to enjoy the line.”