As word began to spread about an adventurous idea being explored by Rob Duren, he decided it was time to move forward with his endeavor.
An avid outdoorsman, he wanted an opportunity to share his passion with others while also providing a unique ministry service for his church. Duren began researching the possibility of hosting an archery clinic at Grace Bible Church in Warrenton and generated enough interest to eventually make his idea a success.
The archery ministry, which began in mid-March, recently completed an eight-session period with courses every other Tuesday.
“Being in a rural community we have a lot of people that are interested but don’t necessarily have a chance to learn or the equipment,” explained Duren. “We wanted to keep the sport going in the age of video games.”
While the training is instructional, it also provides valuable mentoring and family time. Cameron Palmer, 11, was one of about a half dozen students who went through the course from start to finish.
“I’ve liked it, because it gives me something to do at night besides sitting around at home watching TV,” said Palmer.
He enjoyed learning the sport with his older brother, Brendan, and father, Jimmy.
“I don’t have a bow, so this is the only place I can shoot,” said Cameron. “My dads thinking about buying a bow for us now.”
Duren says the program began with the basics, treating everyone as a first-time archer.
“We started off by teaching everybody the proper shooting stance and correct way to draw the bow,” explained Duren. “We also had to determine whether they were left-eye or right-eye dominant.”
Over the course of eight weeks, Duren says he instructed 33 archers. The highest attendance on a given night was 23, with an average of 17. Ages ranged from 10 to 70 years old.
“At our first session we started the target out at about five feet,” said Duren. “Then as we moved them back we had some guys hitting the arrow nets.”
But the progress has been tremendous, says Duren.
“I was really pleased because we had some that had never shot a bow before,” said Duren. “One of our main focuses was on not necessarily hitting the bull-seye everytime but to be consistent and get a good grouping.”
Those who attended on a frequent basis managed to master that technique.
“I learned how to hold the bow and bend my arm before I shoot, so I don’t get whiplash in my arm,” said Palmer.
Bobby Toerper had minimal experience shooting a bow prior to the program.
“I’ve learned how to look down the arrow and make different adjustments through time and repitition,” said Toerper. “
Perhaps the best part about the program — “It’s free and convenient,” said Toerper.
And there will likely be future opportunities for those who missed out on the first training. Duren says the program received such positive feedback that he is planning a fall session beginning in October.
He is also considering the possibility of forming teams to participate in the Show-Me State Games in upcoming years.