SUMAVA RESORTS | Pulling back on the bow, Luis Hernandez takes aim, then turns with a triumphant grin as his arrow hits its target.
It's Saturday at Riverside Archery, where Lowell's Charlie Scott instructs youngsters and a few adults in the sport of archery in a program sponsored by Lowell parks officials.
Watching her son Tyler Guhl, 13, of Lowell, Jennifer Guhl said she's impressed with the facility and the program.
"He's always shown an interest in archery. It's eight weeks for $45. C'mon, what can you do for eight weeks for $45? It's very reasonable," she said.
Jenna Ambrose, 10, of Lowell took her shot under Scott's watchful eye, then said, "I'm liking it a lot. ... I started going hunting with my dad last year. My dad's so good with a bow. I wanted to try it."
Scott estimates he's been instructing archery with Lowell parks for about five years and shooting a bow since he fashioned one from a stick and string when he was a kid.
"It's basic instruction," he said of the classes. "We use compound bows because they're a little easier to shoot than a recurve," he said.
Enrollment is up this year, creating the need to split 29 students into two classes. Scott said he thinks the move to Saturday instruction rather than weeknights has boosted interest.
Beyond that, "It's been a big boon to the program to partner with George," he said of George Thielbar, who owns Riverside Archery. "He took half a horse barn and converted it. He's a talented carpenter," he said.
Scott said he doesn't think the popular "Hunger Games" film had any impact on participation.
Hernandez's inspiration was literary.
After reading "Lord of the Rings," the 12-year-old wanted to emulate the elf who was an archer. The Dyer youngster travels to the Lowell program because it's the closest for him.
Lowell's Bryce Schuster, 6, may be young, but is all focus when it comes to hitting his target.
His father, Dan Schuster, said his son received a recurve bow for Christmas. "I can't get him to put it down," he said.
"Safety is key," Jason Bydalek, of Lowell, said of why his son Brandon, 10, is in the class.