Wake Forest University: Targeting
Archery Success Wake Forest University: Targeting Archery Success

When considering athletics at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, N.C., your first thought might be its NCAA Division 1 basketball team. But if bows and arrows are your thing, this is a school worth checking out.

Founded in Fall 2010 by Amy Forbes and Austin Hale, the Wake Forest University Archery Club – known as “Wake Archery” – began with 10 wholeheartedly committed members who practiced three times a week. “There was initial interest [from] over 50 people,” said Forbes, now the team’s Level 3-NTS coach, certified by USA Archery.

After starting with two targets, two recurve bows, and a half-dozen arrows, the club began fundraising and purchased a compound bow. The storage locker containing the equipment was a shared school-provided space, however, and the equipment was stolen. Club officials took a hiatus in Spring 2011 to resolve the storage issue before buying new equipment.

The club returned in Fall 2011 with a private shed, thanks to donations, and grew exponentially the past four years. For Fall 2013, club officers orchestrated a massive recruitment effort and drew nearly 200 people to the introductory meeting. Of that number, 150 attended fall events and practices.

“Recruitment is a year-round process,” Forbes said. “Wake Archery prides itself on being a no-cut club; committed to teaching anyone who wants to learn.”

More than 50 people tried out for the 26 varsity slots, resulting in a 40-member varsity team and the creation of Bowhunter and College Barebow (traditional) division teams. Wake Archery realizes some students can’t commit time and effort for the varsity team, and so it also provides a recreational club.

Wake Archery has a committed corps of club officers who create and execute events for the club and varsity team. A typical week features three practices (open to club and varsity athletes), a technique night (using stretch bands), optional morning workouts Monday through Friday, and mandatory full varsity workouts on Sundays. The organization also hosts weekend 3D shoots, group trips to an archery range, and special events that included a Hunger Games Charity Adventure Race during the fall semester.

“Archery fits remarkably well in the Wake Forest Campus Community,” Forbes said. “Interest has been sparked by a combination of archery being new and unique to the campus, and recent movies.”

Forbes attributes most of group’s explosive membership increase in 2013 to its organization and the officer corps’ recruitment strategy: They sacrificed their last week of summer to return to school and start recruiting freshmen.

“The strength of Wake Archery lies in the support of the archery community and the unwavering dedication of its members,” Forbes said. “We love archery and want to see not only our team, but also archery as a whole, continue to grow and develop.”

For more information about the organization, go to http://www.wakearchery.com.

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