Archery: after school activity with an added benefit

 It's me!

It's me!

In the coming apocalypse, we will all need skills. And writing funny Facebook posts probably isn't going to add any value to my family, so I'm thinking about where my place will be. I think we have defense and prepping covered if the number of "Doomsday Preppers" episodes on my DVR is any indication. As a family unit, we can offer flag twirling, storytelling, and facial compositing.

But when my daughter asked to learn Archery, I thought this could tick lots of boxes. She could do a little hunting and defense for us in the coming apocalypse AND learn a skill after school.

We are lucky because Madison is so close to the New Jersey School of Archery, which is on Columbia Turnpike in Florham Park. The school is run by Mike Usherenko,who trained in the Soviet Union as an Archer and coaches at an impressive level you can read about here. Classes are run at an indoor range in the basement of 177 Columbia Turnpike, the newly renovated shopping center near the corner of Ridgedale (there's a Moe's and a Sneaker Store as well as Three Birds Yoga upstairs).

An Archer's journey starts with a private or semi private lesson. In our case, we decided to try it as a family. The six of us each got arm guards, bows and arrows. Two teachers took us through the basics: special whistles indicate when it's time to get ready, when to shoot and when it's ok to approach the target to retrieve your arrow. Then we got to try. Over an hour's lesson, we learned how to correct our stance an approach and I think everyone improved.

After that first taste, my daughter wanted to go back. The process is that an archer takes a few lessons before starting classes that are run in the fall, spring and summer. Lessons are also taught at an outdoor range in the South Mountain reservation in West Orange. Archers can also compete in outdoor and indoor competitions as their skills improve. For more information about the New Jersey School of Archery check them out on their website.