The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

August 15, 2013

Bob Garrett's Talking Points column: Raising money for youth archers

Daily Item

---- — "Aim high and let her fly."

As a kick-starter for the Mifflinburg Area schools to become part of the National Archery in the Schools Program, a fundraiser will be held this Saturday on the Buffalo Valley Sportsmen Association's grounds. The aim of this event is to raise the initial $1,500 or so as a community contribution to this very worthy program.

I've written about the National Archery in the Schools Program in past articles. This great program has been in existence for about a decade and has grown to nearly a quarter million youth archers across the country. Some of the benefits that students get from this type of program are improved self-confidence, better study habits, team building skills and the development of physical ability that doesn't rely exclusively upon speed, strength, size or mobility.

To start up a program like this in a school it requires about $6,000 in equipment and safety kits. This cost is partially covered by generous archery manufacturers and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. A community contribution toward this cost shows that local archers, sportsmen, sportswomen and local citizens are invested in the program's success. The Buffalo Valley Sportsmen is once again demonstrating its support and encouragement of young people by hosting this 3-D and 30-target field shoot that will run from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Shooters are asked to pay $15 per person. Target sponsorships are available and they are a nice way for businesses to advertise. Each sponsor gets up to four free shooters. Food and drinks will be available for purchase and door prizes will be given out during Saturday's family-oriented event.

Several Mifflinburg Area physical education teachers have earned their certification to run the National Archery in the Schools Program and they're hoping to have it up and running this fall. If you need more information or want to know how to make your contribution contact Ron Cohen at 570-274-2421.

Well done, Scouter: It hit me like a smack right between the eyes this past Sunday morning when I read in the paper that my long-time friend and fellow Scouter Cole Rice had died in a tragic motorcycle crash. I immediately thought of his children, Derek and Nicole, and wished that I could do something to ease the pain that they were undoubtedly feeling. My thoughts were also of how Cole's enthusiasm for and love of the out-of-doors had turned on many young Scouts to the wonders of nature. He was a master hunter and was very generous and patient when it came to passing on his knowledge to the next generation.

His obituary mentions that he served as Troop 508's Assistant Scoutmaster. What's not mentioned is how he taught several dozen boys to survive in the raging waters of the New River, or that he shepherded at least 10 boys, including his own son and both of my sons, to Scouting's highest honor: the Eagle rank. Well done, good and faithful servant.

Don't miss Outdoor Expo: This weekend's C.A.M.O. Outdoor Expo could be the biggest event for your family for the whole summer. The Expo will be held at the Central Pennsylvania Wesleyan Camp near New Columbia. Lots of information about the Expo is available at Friday night, you and your family members can participate in a kid's tractor pull and go out on a pond life and nature walk at dusk with Jon Beam. Saturday is jammed packed with activities. I would like to recommend the 10 a.m. family gun safety program to you. Fred Gast will lead this presentation and as they say: "He's good."

Really hope that you can make it up to the expo.

De-list American Bald Eagle: While I'm generally willing to let those who know what they're doing to do it, I have mixed feelings about this one. Based on the fact that American Bald Eagles numbers continue to soar ever higher, the Game Commission may remove this bird from our state's list of threatened species. To be more exact, the commission's Bureau of Wildlife Management staff is recommending the bald eagle be upgraded from "threatened" to "protected" status statewide.

Doug Gross, the biologist who heads the bureau's Endangered and Nongame Birds Section, made this suggestion at the commission's working group meeting earlier this week. During his presentation, Gross pointed out that 266 nesting pairs have been confirmed statewide so far this year. And while that count is not final and the number of confirmed nesting pairs could still rise even higher, the updated figure represents the continuation of an upward trend in Pennsylvania. Even if these birds are de-listed, they will continue to be protected under federal law. Stayed tuned, we'll probably be hearing more debate on this topic.