Morgan Steele, Staff Writer (msteele@wwc)
If the absence of bow-bearing Warren Wilson kids shooting arrows around campus has been bringing you down lately, turn that frown upside-down! Juniors Sam Wasko and Eric von Aschewege have decided to cure those archery blues by reviving the long-gone Archery Club.
“It started when Eric brought his flint lock to Public Safety,” said Wasko, recalling how he and von Aschewege – both of whom are experienced archers with shooting ranges in their backyards at home – were inspired to recreate the Archery Club.
Von Aschewege had constructed a musket for the Archeology Department, but understanding that the possession of guns is against school policy, he promptly delivered it to Public Safety. While he was there, he started a conversation with the Public Safety supervisors and wound up on the topic of archery. As it turned out, there was a campus Archery Club years ago, supervised by Mark Brenner of the Environmental Studies Department. Thus the idea of an Archery Club was planted in their brains.
“It definitely took both of us cheering each other on,” said von Aschewege.
“We heard things through the grapevine,” said Wasko, “and the first step would be to talk to Mark… He’s been doing archery since he was a kid… He has a wealth of knowledge.”
When Wasko and von Aschewege had someone to point them in the right direction, they checked with Public Safety to ensure that the club could operate without breaking any rules. The two set a date for the first club meeting.
“Sam made a bunch of great posters,” said von Ashewege. “We set a date and time and had a meeting. There were about a dozen people… I was surprised by the turnout.”
“At the first meeting, we got a sense of how many people were interested,” said Wasko. “Around thirty people were interested, if you count the mailing list. If half of the people who showed up at the meeting commit to the club, we’re going to need a lot more equipment.”
The equipment necessary for this type of extracurricular activity includes enough bows for all members, a plethora of arrows, arm guards to protect the archers’ wrists, targets and hay bales.
“One of the big things we’re considering is whether or not we can talk to [Intramural Director] Bob Shook about getting funding as an extracurricular,” said Wasko. “We want an idea of what equipment we have… We need to talk to Farm Crew; there’s an embankment by the new barn, and we’ll be shooting outside of that into a bank stop. It’s isolated, [there are] no trails around.”
Because Brenner has so much experience with archery, the club could take a number of paths.
“I would… like to do a primitive bow- and arrow-making skills workshop,” von Ashewege said.
“There [are] a lot of directions we could take,” Wasko said, “and Mark’s willing to help us go in any of them. I’m really excited…. My primary goal is to have a regular shooting time one to two times a week where people will be able to build upon their skills.”
The club Brenner led in the past was put out of commission simply because the interest level died down.
“We can maintain the turnout by keeping the momentum going, not letting this die down,” Wasko said. “It’s a great way to relax, focus and center yourself. We welcome all sorts of skill levels.”
“It’s a great way to spend an hour or two in the afternoon,” von Ashewege said. “It’s a great environment… a great way to challenge yourself.”