Foothill 4-H Excels in Archery

Formerly known as Tulare 4-H, a small group of archery enthusiasts have moved their meeting location and changed their name to Foothill 4-H.

At a Saturday meeting in the country between Lindsay and Exeter, the last day of September, some old and new 4-H member unanimously renamed their club. The Tulare 4-H leader quit the club last year, and Brandy Moss-Dobbs stepped in with the help of a few other parents. Since members lived between Woodlake and Lindsay, and the Lewis family property was available for archery practice, the new name was a must.

Moss-Dobbs had been considering moving out of state, but the need for a 4-H leader, along with her children’s activity in the club, convinced the family to stay. They live in Woodlake and daughter, Elizabeth, is active in high school FFA as well as 4-H.

New Foothill 4-Hers along with returning members receive safety training before they start taking target practice. Nancy Vigran/Valley Voice

“It [archery] is going to be an in for her,” she said. “Colleges are starting to recognize archery.”

“She’s really blossomed. She’s very athletic and very much into Ag.”

The family lives within city limits and does not work in the Ag industry. James, Moss-Dobbs’ son, is also into archery.

“I didn’t want to take over [as club leader],” she said, “but, I realized we could make a difference with so many kids.”

The kids may be from their apartment complex, the city of Woodlake, or anywhere else.

Elizabeth, 15, is the president of Foothill 4-H this year. She has been shooting with the bow and arrow for about six years, she said.

“My mom wanted me to do 4-H,” she said. “Some of the kids were doing archery and it sounded fun. It is – I love shooting, in general.”

As club president, and a senior member of the club, Elizabeth looks after other members somewhat like a mother hen. She teaches archery safety, which comes first, she said, and helps out wherever needed.

“Some of the kids look up to me,” she said. “I am proud to teach them.”

Elizabeth is a good shot. But, in order to go hunting with her uncle, she must be able to “pull” 50 pounds in draw weight with her bow. Right now, she is at 47 pounds, she said.

She enters in three or four competitions each year, and won first place at the Porterville Fair last year, earning her a silver belt buckle. She is not the only good shooter in the club, however.

Wade, 13, has been shooting for a little over a year, he said. During club shooting, he was able to make some good shots at his target.

He started with a training bow, which his dad got for him. But he now uses a compound bow with a variety of gadgets – he calls it his tactical bow.

He enjoys archery over other shooting sports, he said, “I don’t like the quick recoil [from guns]. I love archery.”

Twelve-year-old Grace has been in 4-H for four years. She, too, loves archery and switched clubs because of it.

She first fell for archery by watching her dad shoot. Then she saw the movie, Brave.

“I knew I’ve just got to do that,” she said.

The small club is welcoming new members, and while there is an obvious current focus on archery, the club is open to any projects California 4-H offers – they are adaptable, Moss-Dobbs said.

In fact, this year the club is starting food preservation and shotgun.

Elizabeth is also involved in photography projects. Grace has done arts & crafts in the past. She said she’s considering getting into a swine project in future.

The club is currently comprised of five families with about 9-10 members. They would welcome more and need more adults to lead a variety of projects. For more information, contact Brandy Moss-Dobbs, (805) 709-2013.

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