In a recent excitement-filled Saturday, more than 100 enthusiastic local youth competed in the ninth annual Battle of the Boroughs Archery Tournament at the CAMBA Beacon 271 Community Center in Ocean Hill.
Third graders to high school students, and adults, under the mentorship of Coach Larry Brown, learn the fine art of archery and the discipline to be archery athletes in Saturday classes at CAMBA Beacon 271. Brown’s dedication in bringing the sport to inner city youth — he runs the nonprofit Center Shot Archers — is visible as he diligently guides the competitors.
Mingling with other parents prior to the competition, under a loving gaze, Vincentian Cleo Hutton stood with her 14 year-old-old competitor son Kai.
“He loves it, he loves it!” she exuded. Hutton elaborated that Kai has loved bows and arrows since childhood and has been with CAMBA for a year. Also, he would be participating in the national competition. She added, “He’s doing well in school and is on the honor roll! All he talks about is college and archery (and the Olympics).”
As for Kai, he shared how he enjoys the focus and dedication everyone has for archery. “This is a good experience. I build more confidence, as I progress. And, I like how we all come together and help each other out.” He admitted, “The prospect of going to the nationals is nerve wracking.”
CAMBA has sponsored the archery program at Beacon 271 for nine years and a number of young archers have received college scholarships, competed nationally in archery contests and even aimed for the Olympics.
“Developing focus, dexterity and discipline are some of the benefits of this growing sport,” Debra Mack-Glasgow, director of the Beacon explained. “Archery is a great opportunity for young people.”
Coach Brown transmits his passion toward the sport and professionalism in practice. A former archery coach at Columbia University, he is an inspiration and role model for his students. For some of the young archers involvement in the sport is “like having a second family.”
In addition to the award winning archery program, the Beacon Center hosts year-round other free activities for children and adults. Classes include books and basketball, drumline, martial arts, and GED prep. Recently, some the Center’s middle school students have created their own documentaries with “Tribeca Teaches.” The Beacon Center at I.S. 271 also serves as a venue for community meetings, health fairs and other special events.
Classes are held after-school and on weekends at CAMBA Beacon 271, located at 1137 Herkimer St. in Ocean Hill. Call CAMBA at 718-287-2600 for class information.