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CVCC teams up with Rec Dept. to offer Archery class

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By John Barnhart

    They’re learning to shoot straight.

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    A partnership between Bedford County Parks and Recreation and Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) has made an archery class, as a physical education option, possible for students attending CVCC’s Bedford campus.
    The class came about when Stuart Saunders, the program coordinator for Bedford County Parks and Rec mentioned to Dave Eckes, who is teaching PE classes for CVCC, that Parks and Rec had some archery equipment that was not being used. Eckes and Saunders put the archery class together and got approval from Patrick Gatti, the Bedford campus director.
    “It’s  the  first  time  we’ve  done this — a partnership with CVCC,” Saunders said.
    Along with the archery equipment, Parks and Rec was also able to offer something else special — an indoor facility for the class. Parks and Rec uses the former county group home’s gym for evening activities, but it isn’t utilized in the daytime. It’s perfect for the archery class because it provides enough space and allows Eckes to conduct the class rain or shine.
    “Weather is not a factor,” Eckes said.
    The class is an eight week class that started March 20. It has been proven popular and Eckes hopes to do it again in the fall.
    “It’s probably the funnest one they had available,” commented Mark Vaeth when asked why he chose this class.
    Vaeth is studying business administration and plans to transfer to Virginia Tech to complete a four-year degree.
    “Archery sounded really different,” said Reagan Delahunt.
    Delahunt, who is 16 and home schooled, is in CVCC’s Early College program. She will receive an associate of science degree next year, at the age of 17. She likes to work with children and will seek a degree in that area. Her first choice of colleges is Virginia Tech.
    “It sounded like an interesting class,” said Matt McConnelee.
     McConnelee shot the top score, Friday. It was a competition in which they scored by hitting fairly small marks on the target representing poker cards. The top score was the best hand.
    “I’ve shot one other time, at camp back in middle school,” he said.
    He’s still considering what he will do after earning his associate’s degree.
    “Because it sounded fun,” said Briana Krall, when asked why she signed up for the course. “I’m used to shooting anyways.”
    Krall said she has done some bow hunting, but hasn’t taken anything with a bow yet.
    “I haven’t been lucky [with a bow],” she said. “Just with my rifle.”
    Krall is working toward getting a license as a veterinary technician and will work with both small animals and large animals, including livestock.
    Eckes has been successful bow hunting.
    “I got a deer this year,” he said.
    Eckes said archery is a great sport, something his students can do for a lifetime.
    He’s a former Liberty High School teacher, retiring after 33 years. Saunders was one of his students.    
    “I can remember where he sat,” Eckes said.
    Eckes said he enjoys teaching the CVCC PE classes. It’s a part-time job that lets him keep his hand in teaching.
    Archery isn’t just for teens. Saunders said Parks and Rec will be offering a basic archery class for people aged 50 and over. It’s a two-day workshop that will teach the fundamentals of archery, including basic equipment, safety and basic shooting skills. The class will meet on two Thursdays, May 21 and May 28, from 1-2:30 p.m. It costs $35 per person and all supplies are provided by Parks and Rec. Call (540) 586-7682 to pre-register.
    Parks and Rec will also offer something called  “pickleball” for folks 50 and older. Saunders describes it as a combination of ping-pong, tennis and badminton. This will be a two day introduction to pickleball  that will be held on two Tuesdays, May 19 and May 26 from 1-2:30 p.m. The cost is $35 per person and Parks and Rec will provide all supplies. Call (540) 586-7682 to pre-register.