A weekly archery program is working to introduce local elementary through high school students to Christianity by providing instruction in the fundamentals of international target archery as it has been taught by the National Archery in the School Program (NASP).
The eight-week program began Sept. 23, and is planned to continue each Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the gym in the Hillsboro First United Methodist Church until early December before starting again in January.
The program was brought to Hillsboro through a partnership with the church and Centershot Ministries (CsM), a non-denominational outreach program based in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Bill Arledge, a certified archery coach who has won a number of state and national archery championships, leads the Hillsboro program.
“It’s not a new program, but to me it’s excellent because the actual purpose of the program is to bring people to Christ, and archery is a tool to do that,” said Arledge.
Arledge has been shooting competitive archery since the 1980s, and he divides his time between living in Hillsboro and Omaha, Nebraska.
About 10 students have been attending the weekly sessions, and Arledge said he hopes to triple that number. “Twenty is a good number for us, but we could do 40 because it’s very structured, and we keep it extremely safe,” he said.
“From my standpoint, I’ve considered myself a Christian all my life, but I didn’t really realize what that meant until years later,” he said. “The Good Lord blessed me with the skills and the talent to teach archery, and it’s time to give back, so hopefully we can direct some of these kids into understanding the importance of having Christ in your life.”
He said he hopes the program can plant a seed of learning in his students. “What we teach these kids, they may not realize until 10 or 15 years from now what we were talking about, but the whole purpose is to bring people to Christ and have some fun while they are learning,” he said.
Students interested in participating in the archery sessions can contact Arledge by email at [email protected] or call or text 402-659-6960. Archery equipment is furnished, but students are asked to bring a Bible, pen or pencils, a notepad, and eraser.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.