Phoenixville native Joe Grejdus, a world-class Paralymics wheelchair archer who also fared well competing against able-bodied shooters, has brought his sport to the Pottstown area.
For the past several months, Grejdus has been conducting two classes for youngsters on Sunday afternoons at the Pottstown YMCA. The first class is for kids ages 5-8 and runs from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. The second class is for kids ages 9-12 and runs from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
The sessions are held on the second floor at the North Gym in the Pottstown YMCA.
“This is the best-kept secret in Pottstown,” said Grejdus, who teaches the classes with help from his wife, Debbie. “We are sold out in the Phoenixville classes so I am trying to get it going up here.”
The beginning shooters start shooting from six yards away, and targets are moved back for the older, more experienced shooters. Archers retrieve their own arrows, and Grejdus runs the sessions with a whistle, like regular sports coaches do. The distances are also staggered for the older shooters.
Four targets are used with gradual increase in size. Balloons are put at the bullseye spots. There are yellow, orange, blue and black sections on the board, from inside out.
The students in the first class are Anjelica Bolivar, her brother, Terrance “T.J.” Bolivar; Victoria Gartshore and Laila Landes.
Most of the kids are learning archery as an option to other sports while some of the others are doing it as an addition to the regular sports that are part of their regular routines.
“You get to take the things you shoot back home,” said Landes when asked why she likes archery. “You have to hold the arrow all the wy back, and it goes all the way to the target.”
Landes said she also plays tennis and has been practicing a lot at both endeavors.
“You get to really shoot suff,” said Anjelica Bolivar, age 7. “It’s really fun because you can do it by yourself, and you get to go deer hunting.”
“T.J.,” who will turn age 5 next week, also talked about his liking for archery.
“You get big muscles,” he said. “I like archery and football and swimming, too.”
The youngsters in the older class are Madison Broussard, Helena Swiderski and Jacob Magyar.
“I like archery because it’s fun,” said Swiderski, age 8.
“I like it because of a lot of things,” said Magyar, age 10. “What I like to do it has in common with me, plus it’s a really fun sport. I have been doing it off and on.”
“I like it because it helps you relax,” said Broussard, age 11. “You get better at focusing. It’s a good sport if you don’t play football (etc.). I don’t play other sports. I did the February class, and I am doing this one, too.”
The submitted photo is of instructor Joe Grejdus with Terrance “T.J.” Bolivar, age 5.