The string draws back, as a shaking hand slowly lifts the bow into position. A sigh, a short prayer and then WHOOSH! The arrow whips forward burying itself deep into the foam target. Cheers erupt as pride blooms across face of a child, awestruck at what they’ve accomplished. It is stories like these that inspired Southern Pioneer Electric H.U.G.S. (Helping Us Give to Society) Team members to present $4,500 to representatives of the Kicking Bear Kansas Camp, for the purchase of new archery equipment on May, 25.
The Kansas Kicking Bear Camp is an annual archery shoot and campout hosted in Barber County. The two-day camp provides an opportunity for underprivileged, at risk or any youth to build confidence and relationships by introducing them to archery.
“We encourage our local sportsmen and women to go out into their communities and invite youth who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in outdoor sports,” said Kicking Bear Camp Representative, Joscelyn Nittler. “Participants are guided through various activities including hiking, games, crafts and archery. The activities at the camp are designed to not only grab the attention of the youth, but spur their imagination and inspire them to want to learn more,” said Nittler.
As interest in the program has grown, Kicking Bear Kansas Camp has been looking for opportunities to meet the needs of their growing number of participants.
“Currently, we borrow targets and bows for the shootout, but we have been looking to purchase our own equipment to keep up with the growth of the camp,” said Nittler. “The first year we held the program, we had approximately 75 kids and 50 adults; by 2015 we had grown to over 300 total participants. We anticipate that through support from our local organizations, the camp will continue to grow and touch the lives of youth in our community,” said Nittler.
The group reached out to representatives of the H.U.G.S. team and they quickly approved to support the project.
“We are proud to partner with programs that promote the growth and development of our youth in Southern Kansas,” said Southern Pioneer H.U.G.S. member, Anita Wendt. Our hope is that by helping local organizations accomplish their goals, we can create a better quality of life for all in the communities we serve.”
This year, the camp will be held on June 3 and 4. Individuals interested in making donations to the camp or registering for the event, can find additional information at kickingbearkansas.org.