Tristram Rush and Camden Thompson

Tristram Rush and Camden Thompson

It can be difficult at times to keep kids interested in gym class, but Brookfield physical education teacher
Keith Joseph has introduced an activity that is different from the typical ball-centered or running
exercises – archery.

Joseph does not spend a lot of time on archery – generally, 10 days, and just for fifth- and sixth-graders – but the kids respond well to it, he said.

“I like it,” said sixth-grader Ethan Martin.

The school district acquired about $10,000 worth of equipment with a grant some years back, giving it
25-pound bows that can be adjusted to make them easier to shoot for some students; arrows; targets;
arrow holders; and storage equipment.

Students don’t even shoot until the third day as Joseph teaches them the tenets of the National Archery in
Schools Program, which covers the basics of shooting – stance, nocking, drawing, release and follow
through – but also safety guidelines such as how to retrieve and carry arrows.

“They have to learn so many skills,” Joseph said.

Levi O'Brien and Keith Joseph pose for a photo taken by Levi's mom, Amanda O'Brien.

Levi O’Brien and Keith Joseph pose for a photo taken by Levi’s mom, Amanda O’Brien.

Once students have learned the skills, “I don’t have to say anything,” Joseph explained. “It’s all done by whistle.”

Joseph opens up one archery session for each class to family members to watch a round of shooting.

“They (family members) can’t believe what they (students) do,” Joseph said. “They just can’t believe all the skills that they learn in, like, six days.”

This year’s family member day was Sept. 29. Joseph noted that many students are nervous to have their parents and/or grandparents watching them, something Amanda O’Brien noticed in her son, Levi, a sixth-grader.

“He calmed down and settled down, and he did awesome,” she said.

Levi did so awesome that he hit three bulls-eyes in one session, affording him the privilege of ringing a
bell, and getting his photo taken for posting on social media.

promo“The first time I got it,” Levi, a bow hunter, said of hitting three bulls-eyes.

Mom was happy to have been on hand.

“I like coming in and seeing the kids,” O’Brien said. “It’s nice.”