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Discovering

Archery

by Ruth Albrecht

Assisted by Laura Skolaski

    When you stop and think about it there are a lot of fun things to do and places to see. So, it is kind of special when someone new comes into your life and introduces you to something totally different and unique!

Triplets Photo.JPG

     Well that is exactly what happened to the 13 year old triplet brothers, Andrew, Benji, and Chris Lindquist. I had the pleasure of meeting the brothers at the Raised at Full Draw (RAFD) Youth Bowhunting Camp held in Shawano, WI, at the end of July, 2021.  Having never picked up a bow before, these 3 young men were about to have their worlds completely changed.

     When asked how the family first learned about the RAFD camp, their mother, Laura Skolaski shared, “Joe Peterson, the boys’ “stepdad”, saw an article about it in a hunting magazine. He thought it sounded like an amazing opportunity, so we told the boys about it and they immediately expressed interested in attending.” Well, the rest is history!

 

     Being a volunteer at the RAFD summer camp last July, I could personally see their enthusiasm and interest increase more and more each day as the 3 brothers attended the various stations (from first aid to tracking mock deer blood trails to shooting a 3D course) of this 3-day youth bowhunting camp.

 

     While at the camp I spoke to the camper-attendees about the WBH Bow Loaner Program. It wasn’t even a week after camp was over that I received an email from Laura sharing that her 3 sons were interested in pursuing archery further. However, the thought of purchasing 3 bows would be a challenge for her budget. Laura applied for bow loaner kits for each of the boys. It wasn’t until October 10, 2021, that I was able to make that happen and Andrew, Benji and Chris received their bow loaner kits, with Joe as their mentor. They were so proud when they got their bows and had smiles from ear to ear.

 

     Laura explained to me, “The boys got their interest in hunting and archery from Joe, who is an avid hunter. He has shared his passion with the boys in a variety of different ways, including providing outdoor/hunting magazines for the boys to look through, taking the boys trapping and on hikes where he points out animal sign and habitat.  He also shares with the boys the countless stories about his hunting experiences.  And of course, we all enjoy the bounty from his hunts and the boys have LOVED every type of meat they have tried.  While the boys were initially more interested in gun hunting, after their experience both at the RAFD youth bowhunting camp and with their loaner bows, they now have expressed just as great of an interest in trying archery hunting.”  

 

     Living in Verona, the “icing on the cake” for these 3 young men came on October 22, 2021, when I received word from Dale Goytowski of the Blackhawk Bowhunters Archery Club in Verona that they would like to offer them a free complimentary Blackhawk membership until the end of their fiscal year (Jan. 31, 22). Do I need to say more?  Since then, all 3 young men have signed up for the Blackhawk Instructional Beginner Archery Classes that started this past January and more recently acquired a family membership to the club.

 

     Laura says that “Since they attended the RAFD camp and received their bows, the boys have enjoyed every opportunity to use them, be it during the group lessons at Blackhawk Bowhunters or the times we go as a family to open shoots. Their aim and form have improved so much, and we try to make time to go weekly so that they can continue to practice and improve.”

    

     “All 3 boys are very interested in hunting”, Laura continues. “We tried squirrel hunting this past fall without any luck.  They all have turkey tags for this spring, and we are working to find creative ways to get them out there one-on-one with Joe so that they each have a chance to try for a turkey.  We also have definite plans to take them deer hunting this fall and are exploring the possibility of mentored hunts so that they can again have someone work with them individually to make it the best possible experience.  After that, who knows.  They all have big ideas about the hunts they want to go on, thanks to Joe, and we really hope this is the start of a life-long passion for them.”  

 

            When asked what they thought of their loaner bows, the boys couldn’t stop talking about how much they love them and how great the experience has been.  Laura shared, “The boys are so excited about every opportunity they get to go and shoot their bows.  They are proud of their progress and can see how much they have improved since they first picked up a bow last summer. We are all so excited to see where they go next.  I cannot say enough about how much I appreciate all that the Wisconsin Bowhunters Association, and specifically Ruth, have done for us.  It would have been difficult to purchase 3 bows and I would have been hesitant that the boys might lose interest after they got them.  But through this incredible program offered by the Wisconsin Bowhunters they have all had a chance to learn more about archery and develop an interest that will last far beyond just this year.  It is so fun having something we can do as a family, and even though I don’t have a bow yet, the boys have convinced me that I need to get my own so that we can continue to do this together.”

 

     So, a thank you goes out to Joe, their mother Laura and Raised at Full Draw’s youth summer camp for introducing these 3 young men not only to the archery world, but also for introducing them to our great outdoors, and to experiences that will leave them forever changed.