New home for archery club
By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer
DELHI, ON - The Delhi Belgian Archery Club has landed a bulls-eye in its search for a new home.
The club had been looking for a place to shoot ever since the Delhi Belgian Club closed its doors Jan. 1 of this year.
The archery club had already committed to welcome shooters from across the nation for the 2017 National Indoor Archery Championship and wound up moving the event to the nearby Hungarian Hall.
From that point on, executives from both the club and the hall began looking at a long-term solution.
“They saw what we were doing and what was happening and (executive member) Ron VanLeuvenhage ... he used to shoot with us,” explained Mary Ann Pieters, who serves as the club's head instructor alongside her husband George. “He kind of knew what was involved and what we do for protection so nothing gets damaged.”
Since that time, the club has agreed to post between $5,000-6,000 to install safety equipment that would allow for three 'Pop 'n' Jay' style shoots to be held per week beginning in October. Shoots have also been scheduled during Fall Fest (Sept. 9) and the Donnybrook Fair (Sept. 23).
Each weekly gathering typically attracts 20-40 participants.
“It seems that we're getting more people coming out,” Pieters said. “When we were last shooting in Delhi it was always around 30 people, sometimes 40, it just depended. People are starting to find out this archery exists where before they never had a clue.”
Renovations to the hall include new lights, tracks in the ceiling for protective curtains and a shooting backdrop with wheels. A wall has also been removed, which has required some electrical work.
“It's not cheap anymore to do something but we're getting there,” Pieters said.
To their credit, Pieters and the executive of the club are vowing not to raise prices. They're keeping fees for their three shoots per week (Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday) at $5 for each participant and $5 for a yearly membership.
“We don't want to hurt the families that are coming in to shoot,” Pieters said. “We still want to keep the fee the same as long as we can, because if you have a family coming in with three kids, you don't want to discourage them. You want them to be shooting and (be sure) they can afford it.”
The cost of renovations and equipment may well have stretched the club financially, but having a new home was welcome news to the throng of dedicated members.
“They were very happy that they're still going to stay in the vicinity of Delhi and they're very happy that we found a place that can accommodate us,” Pieters said.
“We wanted to keep it in Delhi as much as we could.”
Anyone wishing to attend shoots can do so each Sunday (2 p.m.), Wednesday (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (8 p.m.) beginning in October. For more information, or to donate to the club, contact the Pieters at 519-582-3108.