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Old 11-11-2008, 11:52 AM   #1
SandSquid
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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...
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Old 11-11-2008, 12:03 PM   #2
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Great Job SandSquid! A very good thing you have done here
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Old 11-11-2008, 12:18 PM   #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!!
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Old 11-11-2008, 12:19 PM   #4
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That's a great story Squid, thank you for sharing!! You just brightened my day
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:10 PM   #5
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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.

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Old 11-11-2008, 02:11 PM   #6
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Thanks, I needed a good cry for a while now

Keep it up and let us know if they stick with it
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Old 11-11-2008, 02:25 PM   #7
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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.

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Old 11-11-2008, 03:20 PM   #8
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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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Old 11-11-2008, 03:43 PM   #9
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Great post SS, need more of these stories to share with the archery community. Archers are great people
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Old 11-11-2008, 06:58 PM   #10
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That is a truly inspirational story and one we should all take to heart.
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:54 PM   #11
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Well Praise tha Good Lord
great job SS
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:46 PM   #12
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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....
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:28 AM   #13
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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 05:32 AM.
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Old 11-12-2008, 12:38 PM   #14
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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.
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:04 PM   #15
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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
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:29 PM   #16
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Thats a awesome story!
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:39 PM   #17
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Very nice job there Father Squid.
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:12 AM   #18
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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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Old 11-13-2008, 10:18 AM   #19
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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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Old 11-13-2008, 10:48 AM   #20
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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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Old 11-13-2008, 11:17 AM   #21
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Hey, Firechic,
I just noticed that you're left-handed too. GO LEFTYS!
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:49 PM   #22
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You have done the boys a wonderful service. It seems that maybe you have given these boys an anchor to hold onto in the storm, and a great male role model. I cannot imagine what they feel with dad gone overseas. Maybe you can bring the dad over to the Team when he gets home and give this family another way to bond. Boys need positve male reinforcement. BTW you seem to have quite a few converts under your belt. You are truly a great person.
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:14 PM   #23
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very nice...
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Old 11-13-2008, 11:23 PM   #24
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Thats what its all about. Great story......... Prayers for dad to return safely to his family.
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:51 PM   #25
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Great story SandSquid!
I was at the range the other day and I was shooting my "pretty" bow. Kids are funny because they perk up when they see a good shooter with a "cool" bow! There was a young kid around 12 shooting a typical "hunting" bow. I noticed a few things he was doing wrong and cautiously commented. I say cautiously because most archers don't want to be told what they are doing wrong! The first thing he was doing was shooting off 5 arrows in just over a minute and ultimately all over the place. I asked him if he was in a hurry and he said "not really". I told him I had 4 minutes to shoot five arrows and usually I use all 4. I went on to explain about muscle recovery and then onto proper breathing. His parents were there and told me he never had a lesson and no one ever took the time to "teach" him. His father said he didn't feel he was good enough to show him what to do. I needed to get going but the little guy was listening and doing what I told him to do so I stuck around for another 45 minutes and helped him out. He was consistantly shooting in the white with the odd one going astray. I would say to him "what happened there" and he would tell me "I stopped paying attention", he was listening. His parents were very gratefull and he was feeling real good about himself, excited about the next arrow.

Another older teenager was having some problems one day and I stepped in to show him some tips and found he was shooting "range" arrows and none of them matched. I went into my case and pulled out 5 new carbons I picked up at Walmart for just such an occasion and gave them to him. His mother told me he saved up for his own bow and she couldn't afford arrows for him and when I gave him 5 new carbons she was speachless! His shooting has improved greatly.

I have only shot for 10 years but I had a world champion bowhunter class archer who helped me and I am willing to give back anytime I can.

So I would encourage all the archers out there to help and encourage each other and take the time to pass on their years of wisdom to the newbies and the youth, some will listen and some will not, so be it! Every archer I know has a "ton" of equipment sitting in closets. I would encourage all of us to help out the youth and those who can't afford the sport by donating what we have, equipment and time. Do this and the sport will grow at an amazing rate. Trust me!
God Bless!
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Old 03-17-2011, 04:34 AM   #26
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It's always great to hear stories like these. It is important for us to set up troubled kids success. We shouldn't make unreasonable and unreachable goals and rules for them. Create rules that your child can achieve and teach them how they can achieve this. Support them and set them up for success instead of setting them up for failure by expecting something from them which they are not prepared or equipped for.
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:39 PM   #27
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This threads 3 years old .........he's probably grown and has little heck raisers of his own by now.
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:11 PM   #28
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Good story!! I don't care how old it is, my hat is still off to SandSquid and great luck to the two boys. Stay in archery.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:58 AM   #29
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GREAT JOB GUYS WE NEED MORE PEOPLE AROUND THIS WORLD LIKE U FOLKS..HATS OFF TO YOU BOTH. I HAVE 2 BOYS AND THEY LIVE AND DIE TO HUNT SHOOT WHAT EVER ITS OUTSIDE. I HAVE NEVER HAD THE CHANCE TO HELP OUT A YOUNGSTER BUT I WOULD IN A HEART BEAT...
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:32 AM   #30
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Very awesome to hear. Very kind of you...thanks for sharing!
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