Archery as therapy for special-needs

Dothan archery

Credit: Danny Tindell / Ludie Walker gets help with her archery skills from Jamie Johnson at Eastgate Park in Dothan Tuesday afternoon.

Dothan’s Leisure Services department recently offered special-needs residents a chance to live out their Robin Hood fantasies as the Eastgate Park archery taught 10 special-needs residents how to properly use bows and arrows at its range.

The nightly classes began earlier this month and lasted about 90 minutes, allowing the participants to learn the basics and get in some quality shooting time.

The classes were a part of the city’s theraputic recreation programs. “We want to offer archery to everyone, people of all abilities, not just perfect abilities,” said Roy Kitts, athletic coordinator for Leisure Services. “We have a partner helping them that is able-bodied and assisting with the class. Some of them shot really well (Monday and Tuesday), and this is an opportunity to tell people what they can do instead of what they can’t do. It’s about having the opportunity to be included and do things everybody else is able to do.” [Source]

In an interview with the Dothan Eagle, Kitt explained that archery was a natural choice when considering ways to include special-needs residence because of the sport’s individualistic nature. “It teaches mental concentration, steadiness of hand, you have to use vision and other things. You’re able to do this even if you’re not a great athlete,” he said.

Leaders of the project hope that the program developes even further, not only as an annual event but perhaps as a permanent one also offering more advanced levels for the future aficionado.

Phillips, Greg. “Special-needs Residents Band Together for Archery Class.” Dothan Eagle 21 Sept. 2010, Local sec. Print.

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