Packing a quiver of arrows, strapping on a chest protector, and carrying a giant bow, each limb recoils and aims.
The sound of arrows piercing targets is heard every Sunday afternoon on the Arce field, home of the 5C archery club. For member Gillian Bell SC ’23, the organization provides a space to embrace the sport.
âIt’s a very relaxed environment,â said Bell. “If you don’t know anything about archery we will teach you and you don’t have to stay all the time – you can just hang out and watch us.
Between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., the club offers opportunities for collaboration where any student can learn about the nuances of archery. Club President Trevor Christensen CM ’22 emphasized the open nature of the group.
âOur philosophy is that people of all skill levels can show up and participate,â he said. âWe have people who have been archery for years and people who have never shot before; the overall goal is to provide a welcoming space for archery and improvement in the sport.
A typical Sunday meeting is to deploy archery targets, borrow archery equipment from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and let members shoot freely.
For Bell, this environment was essential to his choice of college. After arriving in Claremont, she started shooting with the archery club in her first year and has not been able to participate since due to the pandemic.
âAfter first participating in eighth grade and throughout high school, I knew [archery was] a sport that maybe I will do for the rest of my life, âshe said. “I was really looking for any college that had some sort of team so having a club here was definitely a major bonus point. [in choosing Scripps]. “
Although it was a difficult sport to learn initially for Bell, improving his archery skills allowed him to develop persistence and a never-give-up mindset.
“The greatest thing [back then] was that I was absolutely horrible at it – like I couldn’t even hit the target, âBell said. âI think being so awful about it made me want to keep chasing him. If you get it wrong you can see the immediate result – I really like the black and white nature of archery in that sense.
Bell mentioned how much she enjoys sharing these stories while also building relationships with other archers who have unique backgrounds.
âIt was really fun and interesting to see other people’s relationships with archery,â said Bell. “They are used to different types of equipment, coming from different coaches or different teams – we also come from different geographies, so each brings their own level and perspective of experience.”
Given the improvements to the club, Bell explained how sending members to archery competitions could potentially attract more interest in 5C archery. While there are “many rules” and “time conflicts” to resolve, the club have considered sending students to personal tournaments in the past, or even hosting their own informal tournaments, Bell said.
âIt’s tough because there are a variety of experience levels, but it’s something that I’m really interested in,â said Bell. “I think it might be interesting to place students in group competitions after driving them a few hours and taking two day trips to central California.”
While training is âeverything is fine and fun,â said Christensen, tournaments add a new level of challenge and are a cool way for archers to test their skills in competitive environments.
“Occasionally [competitions] comes down to shooting an arrow, and those are some of the craziest moments; you’ve come so far in the tournament, and it’s all down to that one arrow, âhe said. âLooking back, half the fun I had archery comes from [those moments]. “
Currently, the club has about half a dozen regular members, although attendance varies from week to week. Going forward, Bell hopes the club will draw more attention to the 5Cs.
“[Archery club] is a very open environment and I would really love to get other people involved in this space, âsaid Bell. “For me archery is really a meditative sport, so being able to share that experience with other people is really fun.”