She took a deep breath, pulled back and released. Bull’s-eye.

Alice Hall had just hit the center of her target during archery camp at the South Boston Recreation Department on Wednesday.

“It feels awesome,” the 12-year-old said after her feat. “It feels really good, but I have my good days and my bad days. Some days it just feels good to hit the target.”

Hall was being modest as this is her third or fourth year at the archery camp in South Boston, and she has even spent time in the past practicing archery outside of camp.

The trick, she said, is to draw the bow back until she feels the arrow with the tip of her finger.

“I enjoy learning, and (archery) is something you don’t see often,” said Hall.

For her the activity offers a time “to vent and practice her aim.”

Malaysha Claiborne, 13, also has been participating in the program for several years.

“We’re having fun, and it’s something for me to do instead of sitting at home watching TV,” said Claiborne.

While also recognizing they have much differences, she compares the sport of archery to throwing darts, another past time she enjoys.

“I’m just relieved to hit the target,” said Clairborne, who prefers to spend her time at archery camp helping the younger children.

These are just two of the more than 50 children who came out to the South Boston Recreation Department this week for a few hours of learning archery.

“We teach them the fundamentals, and try to make it fun,” said instructor Mary Douglas.

The camp, which is free, has been offered for more than a decade.

Children spend three hours Monday through Friday at camp.

For the first half of the week, Douglas said they have individual competition by age division and then team competition on Thursday and Friday with a cookout to close out the week.

Throughout the week, she watches as they start with lower targets and work their way down to higher targets further away.

“Some children don’t even make five points, and are just as happy as can be. I just enjoy giving them the opportunity to try something new. I think trying different sports keeps them well-rounded,” said Douglas.

This was 9-year-old Brooklyn Snead first time participating in archery camp, and has enjoyed getting comfortable with a bow and arrow while learning from Douglas.

“I feel like I could help other kids learn how to do it,” she added.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at