20 weeks of Integr8Archery but also another anniversary that I am proud of today too ❤️🏹🥳

Busy busy week meetings, AGM and learning

20 weeks! I still sometimes feel a little shocked and surprised that I have a business and a club!

This week has been lots of paper work, training and emotion for a number of reasons. It takes all of that in the background to get weeks like the one last week when we saw 65 new children across 3 schools pick up bows. Planning, planning and planning to bring those things together. So there has been a lot of that this week.

Thursday saw the NCAS agm where I collected my year bar, this has been a tough year and I am still not sure how much more shooting I have in me, added to the ongoing issues that we have been working on for 3 years to keep me shooting, the emotional and mental health issues from this last 11 months are now becoming very real physical issues and there appears to be a limit to what the team that is me, the counsellor, GP and asthma nurse can achieve but shooting is becoming much more of a struggle. It’s hard not to compare what I have done this year with what I have achieved at my best, but when I tried to say goodbye and thank you to the county squad they didn’t just let me go and I am grateful because between them and my flight family it is most definitely why I am still even trying to find a way to keep going with my bow. Collecting that tiny little bar gave me a lot to think about but a positive boost too.

I absolutely enjoyed meeting the other candidates on the disability sports coaching course, this is going to be a great group to learn with and from, still a little overwhelming to think I have to learn 5 new sports but this together with when I complete my archery instructor course, I will have the ability to deliver 6 adaptive sports to those looking to find a sport they enjoy, and again making me feel more positive about doing something I was always very much set against.

Finishing the day early saw me have time to have a wander, so I chose Camden. There had been a surprise plan to be here earlier in the year as one of a number of steps to launch, promote and celebrate all of the projects that would launch from May to October, disappointment that this wasn’t the visit it should’ve been had it been part of that plan, but as I pondered the things that have been missed out on, the steps in place for me to save some of the projects, the prospect of what could happen if things were to be picked back up and collaborating re-started, what I can confirm is that my best friend definitely missed out on the most amazing pastrami sandwich, which I had researched and found at his request. The only one I have had that has tasted better was across the Atlantic Ocean. The hug I received from the person who would have been helping with the surprise and what we were going to do locally was almost as good 😉 I mean come on, what beats pastrami and pickles 😂, but thank you for the chat, it meant a lot that you were going to support us, I am still grateful for that support and belief in what we were going to do despite what’s happened to stop it. I would like to think we could re-start all of that work, but it needs us both to be brave enough – not me alone.

This summer has been the summer of finding hidden treasure at different sites looking to come on board the projects that I have salvaged and last week’s new school had dug around and found kit that had been packed away years ago, excellent when they have big plans and it helps us to focus their budget on what needs to be added rather than starting fresh.

What else is today? It is a year today that Dave and I took the out of school setting children indoors for the winter to shoot at the transport museum. Over that indoor season it was a privilege to watch those children and adults push their boundaries and challenge themselves in so many ways. Along with that amazing day there is of course the Monday a couple of weeks later when I walked in, found a surprise bus and fire engine in the range 😱🫣😂 and had to quickly run back out to warn my coach – made for some fantastic photos over the following months though. The group isn’t currently shooting and this is something I continue to work at getting back on track, but I have plans for this coming weekend to shoot with one of the those children, his mum is going to be doing an instructors course, a little later than planned but I am grateful she has stuck with Integr8Archery and the archery in education project.

Also, seeing one of the alternate placement children from this group back in a mainstream setting a few weeks ago, at one of the schools who works with us, seeing how sport has helped make the integration smoother and discussing how archery was used to help with literacy and maths lesson last year and having the school interested in maybe using it to help academically within their setting too.

I do believe that archery can help change lives, sport can be used for so many things and so I will continue to do my very best to work to help bring about those changes. I am proud of what I have managed to achieve with this sport and those who step in to work with me. 6 years since I first stepped in to help at an event but without a doubt Covid really turned up my determination. Let’s get everyone moving and see the improvement they find in so many different ways.

Out of school setting move indoors 15th November 2021 and the day the vehicles moved into the range!