SEQUIM — You would think that with no shooting range in Sequim, classes of 30 or more students and no school-district money for equipment, Billy Reamer would not pursue an archery program.
But Reamer saw something in bows and arrows that he wanted to offer his kids.
He’s in his second year as Helen Haller Elementary School’s health and physical education teacher and uses the neighboring Sequim Boys & Girls Club gym for all manner of activities.
Archery is “an opportunity for kids who are not successful in other P.E. [units] to be very successful,” Reamer said.
Young archers learn laser focus while developing core body strength — at age 9, 10 and even younger.
Last year, after studying the National Archery in the Schools program Web site (www.NASP archery.org), Reamer set out to raise the money for his students to explore the sport.
He received donations from nearly everyone he asked and then some: the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Easton Sports Development Foundation, the Greywolf Parent-Teacher Association, the Wapiti Bowmen Club near Port Angeles, Sportsmen for Conservation and Gary and Scott Gordon, a father-son team of archery enthusiasts.
Reamer raised $4,806, enough to purchase the archery equipment needed for his fourth- and fifth-grade classes to try their hands.
The first four-week archery unit finished on Friday, with a gym full of boys and girls rotating through orderly lines — and nailing arrows to targets.
Several students have asked him how much a good bow costs. They sighed when he told them: $125.
But your archery career needn’t be over, Reamer reassured the youngsters, because he hopes to start an after-school program next year.
The logistics won’t be simple. Reamer expects a large turnout, possibly larger than the Boys & Girls Club gym can hold.
But he’s optimistic anyway, based on the response he got from donors and students.
The Wapiti Bowmen Club of Port Angeles also promotes archery as a family sport. The club’s range on 20 wooded acres includes dozens of field targets, an indoor range and clubhouse. Information about the club is available by phoning 360-457-3476 and at www.angelfire.com/wa3/wapitibowmen.
Reamer, who completed an archery teacher training course before embarking on the unit, said he always emphasizes safety — and having an adult close by — when he talks with his kids about the sport.
He added that disabled students have been able to participate in the unit, shooting from their wheelchairs.
On the horizon: an archery unit at Greywolf, Sequim’s other elementary school.
Greywolf P.E. teacher Doug Hastings completed the archery instructor training with Reamer last year.
Then Reamer hopes the equipment will be shared with Sequim Middle School.
Offering this sport to the middle schoolers is a matter of finding a teacher there who’s willing, Reamer said.
“This is one of the more popular units,” he added. “It’s an opportunity to experience a true lifetime sport.”
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.