Archery event connects youngsters with archery at Pymatuning Reservoir
As outdoor enthusiasts, it is our duty to teach the next generation about the outdoors and how to enjoy it ethically and responsibly.
Fortunately, many families have a long tradition of hunting, fishing, hiking and camping. Other times there must be events that introduce people or educate them more about the opportunities that exist here in Pennsylvania.
One such event took place on May 22 at Pymatuning Reservoir in County Crawford.
Jordon Miller of Burgettsown and owner of Nocturnal Addiction Bowfishing hosted an outing called Pennsylvania Youth Bowfishing Day.
It was a free day for 40 young people to experience water archery.
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The event was in memory of his son Craven, who died shortly after his premature birth last year. “I was thinking of something to build the sport a little bit in memory of him, and I had the idea of having a youth event in Pennsylvania and trying to get as many kids as possible to the fishing,” Miller said in a phone interview.
With the help of his sponsors and friends, they organized the Pennsylvania Youth Archery Day for children ages 10-18.
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To win a prize, young people had to shoot at underwater targets used for bow fishing. The archers did not know what prize they had won until they were announced.
The kids won bow fishing facilities with cases and arrows, an air rifle, and several fishing and bow fishing trips. “There were a lot of prizes,” Miller said.
On the water, the children were able to catch 40 carp. “There were a lot of beginners. Many of these kids have never done archery before.
Nine volunteer boaters were used and others helped the youth learn about bows and equipment.
One of the participants was Tiffany Megyesy, 14, Canonsburg, Washington County.
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“I archery and fish all the time, but I’ve never fished with a bow,” she said of her urge to go.
She ended up catching three fish, including the biggest carp of the day. “I missed the first fish I saw, then I understood.”
“I think that’s actually really cool. Honestly, I would do it as a sport,” she said of fishing more proactively than traditional rod and reel fishing. “It’s quite fun.”
She is definitely leaving. Her brother, Austin, 18, won a guided bow fishing trip that day, and she’s excited to plan to go with him.
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Miller said the day exceeded his expectations and it will be an annual event.
“The kids were definitely thrilled. It was definitely worth seeing some kids look and giving them bows.
The day broke down barriers for young people who wanted to learn more about the outdoors. “It was 100% free. It cost the families nothing,” he said of his desire to give back to youth while remembering his son.
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“The fact that I can share my passion (bow fishing) with children. See their faces light up as they shoot that first fish. To see how excited they are. I can’t describe the feeling, it’s just awesome,” he said.
And that’s what it’s all about: introducing the next generation to outdoor living.
Brian Whipkey is the outdoor columnist for USA TODAY Network sites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at [email protected] and sign up for our weekly Go Outdoors PA newsletter via email on your website homepage under your login name. Follow him on social media @whipkeyoutdoors.