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  1. #1
    Uncle Sam's Canoe Club SandSquid's Avatar
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    Default Archery turing around a "troubled teen".

    Apologies in advance for the length of this, but after reading it I'm sure you will be glad you took the time to read it all.



    Saturday, my Church's Youth Group was supposed to go mountain-biking but it was cold and damp and windy so only one other kid showed up. Quite frankly I never would have expected this one to be the one to show up.

    His mom has been having a really tough time because he has some "emotional problems" to begin with, and on top of it Dad is a Reservist that got called up to go to Iraq about 6 months ago. He had just gotten his second suspension from school in as many months, and his grades have fallen from B's w/ an A or two every once in a while, to D's and F's.

    I asked mom if it would be okay if we take him to the archery range instead of the park, and she said it would be OK, but she didn't have any $$ with her for rentals, etc. I told her not to worry about it, either the Church would pay for it out of the Youth Group budget, since it was a "Youth Group Activity" (I lied, we paid for him, but she didn't need to know that.)

    When we first got there the owner set him up w/ a Genesis a 3 finger glove and some arrows, he was really pretty happy at first, but after a few arrows not going where he wanted them to he reverted to his usual dejected self and got quite grumpy and his self esteem plummeted, and stopped listening to me. My oldest girl stepped in and showed him how to stand, hold the bow, how to draw, anchor, sight and release.. He started hitting the paper at 10 yards. After about 20 minutes he was getting a few in the white rings and really starting to brighten up. After about an hour he moved over to the 20 Yard lanes and was flinging arrows at a large deer target, and just beaming with joy.

    His mom showed up to pick him up shortly afterwords, but seeing how much fun he was having, and after I offered to stay with the kids and drive him home, she and my wife took off to the house for some "mom" time. She really needed to talk to another mother/wife who has dealt with a deploying husband, teens, and all that, and possibly have a few glasses of my home-made wine.

    We stayed till closing time and though my kids were done shooting, they both started coaching him, and I didn't even ask them to! I was very proud of my daughters, for that.

    On the way home I told him that as long as his mom said it was OK he could come back with us any time. But, he needed to be helping his mother out around the house, get his act together in school and start working on controlling his temper, or no dice.

    They didn't make it to church on Sunday, but when my wife called his mom, she said that they couldn't make it to Church because when dad called early Sunday morning, had gotten on the phone and talked, really talked to his father, for the first time in 2 months! He normally just said "hi" and passed the phone off to his brother, but this morning he spent 2 hours talking to his dad about archery and how fun it was and about how much he wanted to go again. Having been deployed to Iraq and spending almost all of 2006 away from my family I know how emotionally necessary it is to talk with your kids, or if you are really lucky be able to listen to them as they rattle on and on about something great in their lives.. It really helps to know they are doing OK back home so you can "keep your head in the fight" and keep you focused on the important things necessary to making it back home in one piece.

    Monday, we called his mom to see how he was doing and to see if he wanted to go to the range for an hour or two. She told us his guidance counselor and vice-principal both called to ask her "What happened to him?" They said they have not seen such an amazing transformation over a single weekend. She also said that in addition to cleaning his room, he cleaned all the bathrooms and even vacuumed the house to earn some money in case he was able to go back again he'd be able to rent his own bow, and not have someone else pay for it. Wow..

    When we went to pick him up, amazingly enough his older brother wanted to come with us.. Now, you gotta know this: his older brother is the typical introverted "dark" teen, always wears all black, even wears black nail-polish, has long stringy black hair that hangs down over his face, almost never leaves his room... You know "the type" right? Well, he heard all the jabbering his younger brother was doing and wanted to "check it out, because it sound's like it might be cool".

    Upon arriving at teh shop he calls out to the owner:"Hey, Mr. Ty, I earned $20.00 yesterday helping my mom out around the house, and I was wondering if it would be enough to rent two bows for me and my brother so we can shoot, and for how long." (Now, at $8.00/Hour for just one lane I knew they didn't have nearly enough.) The owner glanced over at me and I gave him a nod indicating that I'd cover the difference. Ty looked back at them and said "Sure, that should get you all the way until closing time, if you can stay that late, and providing all your homework is done for tomorrow?" They both said it was finished and checked by mom, so he handed them two bows, 6 arrows each and and a finger tab and two new targets. After they trotted off to to the lanes out back, Ty, the owner looked over at me and said "Looks like we saved that boy just in time, maybe we even got a 'two-fer' out of it."

    On the way out the owner gave both the boys one of his "shop ball-caps" Red cap w/ Carbon Express on the front and the shop name on the back. both boys put them on and the oldest one actually smiled, and said Thank you." Probly the first time I've ever sen him smile, and certainly the first time I've ever seen him wear anything that wasn't black.

    Again , on the way home I told them to keep up the good work and to have mom give us a call if they want to go again. They both asked when we were coming back. I told them that we we going Thursday Night but it was "league night" and they didn't rent lanes then. They asked if they could just come and watch and I said sure. Then the oldest boy asked, "When does the next league start, and if I keep practicing, will I be able to join? I assured him that he could join even if he didn't get a lot of practice time in. And do you think Mr. Ty would like, let us clean up around the shop, and stuff in exchange for rental fee's?" I said I didn't know, but you could ask him on Thursday. and I might have some old stuff in the closet they might be able to could use...

  2. #2
    Senior Member TMax27's Avatar
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    Default Awesome!!!

    Great Job SandSquid! A very good thing you have done here
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  3. #3

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    You are a terriffic individual. Anyone that takes the time to help troubled teens like that, I take my hat off to you.

    Keep up the good work!!

  4. #4
    Super Member BuckeyeRed's Avatar
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    Default

    That's a great story Squid, thank you for sharing!! You just brightened my day
    Be good or be good at it.

  5. #5
    Uncle Sam's Canoe Club SandSquid's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm not "all that".. I'd just hope that if my family were in a similar situation, someone would do the same for them.

    --
    SandSquid
    "One Team, One Fight"

  6. #6
    Wheely Threads Wheely's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks, I needed a good cry for a while now

    Keep it up and let us know if they stick with it

  7. #7
    Uncle Sam's Canoe Club SandSquid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheely View Post
    Thanks, I needed a good cry for a while now
    I had to stop typing a few times to dab the corners of my eyes.


  8. #8
    Senior Member Daniel Boone's Avatar
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    Default Judge friend of mine

    Said he never sees kids with hunting license. I do believe archery is good for kids and can help.

    THats a great story.
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  9. #9
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    Great post SS, need more of these stories to share with the archery community. Archers are great people

  10. #10
    Junior Member scottk517's Avatar
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    Default

    That is a truly inspirational story and one we should all take to heart.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Holy Smokes's Avatar
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    Well Praise tha Good Lord
    great job SS



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  12. #12
    I pray for you! BUNNYMAN's Avatar
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    Really awesome thing your doing.....you may have created monsters.....any chance of keeping them into it, till the spring and then get them on a 3d course? Trust me its gonnabe even better than punching holes in paper....
    I cut things up and split them down!

  13. #13
    Uncle Sam's Canoe Club SandSquid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BUNNYMAN View Post
    Any chance of keeping them into it, till the spring and then get them on a 3d course?
    My big push is keeping them occupied till then. Dad is supposed to be home from the desert(God willing) and he can jump back in.

    Now that the shop owner has been brought up to speed on the situation he's being really cool about the financial end of it. Being a Marine and a father, you would expect so. That was my biggest concern, that I could not keep up w/ my family and theirs' expenses. He is charging me a flat monthly rate for unlimited shooting, since my wife and kids are there 3+ times a week and said the boys can slide in under our "family membership".

    I've got the word out locally for donations of, or very low cost, usable bows for the boys. Folks are searching their attics, basements and local thrift stores and pawn shops now. I'm going to put the word out at league night this Thursday also. So if you all know the where-about of any adjustable bows such as the genesis, Ranger, Midas, Sidekick, etc. going for CHEAP, please let me know. doesn't need to be pretty, just usable. The Shop Genesis bows get pretty frustrating fast, with no peeps/front sights.

    I've got an old PSE "USA Spirit Jr." that I got a little while ago (thanks DB) that was supposed to be for my oldest girl to shoot paper with, that I'm bringing in to see if he can get it cranked down enough in weight (length is about right) for the oldest boys to use. It's old and a little dinged up but it's at least safe to use. I've got the limb bolts out 4 turns already, and afraid to go anymore. and both them kid just don't have the upper body development (YET) to pull more than 20#. I showed them both how to do the "1-arm push ups" against a wall.

    But no matter what, I'm going to have the stuff either left at the shop or in our possession, as these boys sometimes like to make shall we say "poor judgment calls" and have been known to have tempers. I'd hate to see the neighbors cat, car tire, or other kids get hit accidentally by an arrow, yaknowhatImean,vern?
    Last edited by SandSquid; 11-12-2008 at 06:32 AM.

  14. #14
    Hook 'em Horns
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    Being the father of two boys who I love dearly I have to say this story brings tears to my eyes. Thanks for the good thing you have done.

  15. #15
    bambi killer killbambidead's Avatar
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    im 16 and archery is awesome
    a) its somethign u can do by yourself to get away from it all
    b) its somethign u can do with ur buds
    c) when ur mad what doesnt make u feel better then shootin something
    d) its addicting and takes a lot of time so less time to get in trouble

  16. #16
    Junior Member RyanH's Avatar
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    Thats a awesome story!
    Victory National Shooting Staff!

  17. #17
    Senior Member ozzy's Avatar
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    Default

    Very nice job there Father Squid.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member bwiz's Avatar
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    SandSquid,
    Stay on top of it, maybe you can get "dad" involved after his deployment. May God richly bless you and your' efforts.
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  19. #19
    Do Work! J-Daddy's Avatar
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    Default Good job

    Good job man and a good story...I hope those kids do alright.
    I'm a firm believer in there's nothing better for a kid than being in the outdoors. I grew up either in the woods hunting or on a pond or creek bank fishing and it helped me and my dad have a better bond and kept me out of trouble...Now I'm not gonna say I never got in trouble cause god knows I did, but I think things could have been alot worse. I've got 3 girls ranging in age from 3,7 and 14 and none of them really have much of an interest in the outdoors...I dont push it on them cause I dont want to force them to do things they dont want to do "other than clean their rooms & chores" but I hope one of these days one of them takes an interest and wants to tag along with ol' Dad a little more...
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  20. #20
    IKE refugee... hehe firechic's Avatar
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    You brought tears to my eyes... and I'm at the fire station! I think what you are doing is awesome!! I wish more people would stand up and do the right thing like you have. Even though you are doing what you would hope that others would do for you, you are still a Hero in my eyes. The kids may not stick with archery... which I hope they do!.... but they will have atleast come out knowing, they can do some thing when they put their minds to it!

    Way to go!!!
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