Tuesday nights are archery nights in the gymnasium at Salem Church, 2150 Old Route 22, Lenhartsville. That’s the night the church holds Centershot classes.
The program is part of a larger program that teaches NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program) principles to teach students ages 10 to senior adults the skills of archery.
A new session of Centershot will begin at Salem Church on Tuesday, Jan. 9, and will run through Feb. 27. Students pay a $30 registration fee which covers equipment, instruction and a Centershot T-shirt. The last day to join the winter 2018 session is Tuesday, Jan. 23.
The archery program began at Salem three years ago, and has included students from elementary schools, parents with teenagers and adults from the community. New students join each session, and many return multiple times to advance in archery skills.
Organizers are anticipating adding a second shooting range this month in order to accommodate a larger group of returning students with more advanced skills while still welcoming newcomers to the sport.
Ethan Long, a sophomore at Hamburg Area High School, will be returning to Centershot this January. He is excited about classes resuming, he said, and he has participated in a number of sessions over the past three years.
“I enjoy archery, and I like Centershot because it’s instinctive shooting, a different style of shooting than some people are used to,” he said. “I like seeing how other people improve in their aim and technique over the weeks.”
Program directors are Frank and Lori LaPearl of Hamburg. The couple were involved in starting a similar program in their Reading-area church in 2010 and have completed an intensive, eight-hour certification course.
“Some people aren’t sports oriented,” Frank said. “They can’t run fast. They can’t throw a ball, or whatever. But they can pull a bow back, they can see the arrow fly and they can see it hitting the target. They see it hit and they say, ‘Wow, I did it!’”
As they improve, he added, students are driven to hit the center of the target. He has worked with students struggling with arthritis and has seen youngsters with attention issues benefit from Centershot.
Lori LaPearl said, “It’s funny how excited they get when they actually hit the center.”
Parents are welcome to stay and observe the evening program. They are also encouraged to join as adult students.
Dave Long, pastor of Salem, is excited about offering this archery program to the community.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to introduce people not just to archery,” he said, “but to what our God is all about.”
Centershot is not tied to any denomination. Participants do not need to attend Salem, or any church for that matter, to attend. Also of note is the emphasis on the sport of archery, not on the sport of hunting.
For details on Centershot at Salem Church, readers may contact the church office at 610-562-5033 or WeAreSalemChurch@gmail.com. Additional information on the Centershot archery program can be found online at centershot.org.