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"Hunger Games" inspires children and teens to Georgia archery programs | Families

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"Hunger Games" inspires children and teens to Georgia archery programs
Families
"Hunger Games" inspires children and teens to Georgia archery programs

The second installment of the "Hunger Games", called "Catching Fire", hits theaters at midnight Friday.

The blockbuster movies are not only selling tickets. They're persuading kids to pick up a hobby, that got its start in prehistoric times.

The archery bug bit Mark Swords and Jennifer Pittman long ago.

Pittman said, "I grew up hunting and fishing my entire life."

They're both bow hunters, and employees with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

It's their aim to help children and teens get a grip on archery.

Swords said, "If you learn incorrectly, you can turn a young person off from archery. If you learn correct, you have a life long hobby."

As a coordinator for the National Archery in Schools Program, Swords says the "Hunger Games" series pointed hundreds of kids in his direction.

Swords said, "I read all three books."

He watched the films, too.

Swords said, "If you watch Katniss, you can tell Jennifer Lawrence has had some excellent coaching, and it is real, what you see."

Pittman said you do not have to be athletic to participate. She said, "Everyone can do it, and they can do it well. It's concentration. It's eye-hand coordination, and it's practice."

She says 25,000 Georgia kids focus on the sport.

Pittman and her team surpassed their target, growing school archery programs from 18 in 2003 to 200 programs now.

There is an archery range at Perry's Flat Creek Wildlife Management Area. Another like it was just built near Dublin.

Archery Opportunities: Archery shooting ranges

In Central Georgia, Peach, Bleckley, Dodge, Laurens, Truetlen and Wheeler Counties have archery programs in the schools.

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