Author: Cassie Scott
Everyone looks forward to nice weather after a long winter, but summer’s heat can make outdoor archery events tricky. Hot weather can hurt attendance and expose participants to sunburn, dehydration, heat exhaustion or even heatstroke. But if you prepare for those dangers and keep participants cool, you can enjoy your best summer yet.
Brittany Dill, manager of Fort Grard Guns & Archery in Weatherford, Texas, knows all about summer heat and its risks.
“[Heat] is an important topic at our shop,” Dill said. “With summer temperatures in the 100s, we refuse to put our shooters at risk. We want everyone to enjoy shooting and being outside.”
Fort Grard offers many outdoor events during summer, and provides plenty of water and other aids to help archers beat the heat. Staff drive around on UTVs during tournaments to check on competitors, and take overheated archers back to the air-conditioned range.
By using these tips and following Dill’s lead, you’ll keep participants happy and healthy this summer.
Hot weather can hurt attendance and expose participants to sunburn, dehydration, heat exhaustion or even heatstroke. But if you prepare for those dangers and keep participants cool, you can enjoy your best summer yet. Photo Credit: ASA Cullman, AL.
1. Communicate Effectively
While promoting your event, encourage participants to prepare for hot weather. Advise they bring a water bottle, and wear hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and breathable, UV-resistant clothes. Also suggest they bring an umbrella, cooling towel and additional sunscreen to reapply as needed.
2. Hold Classes Early (or Late)
Schedule camps, classes, events or programs early in the morning during the day’s coolest hours, or at least before noon. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the day’s hottest time occurs around 3 p.m.
If mornings aren’t your thing, host late-afternoon or evening classes. Temperatures start dropping in late afternoon, providing other opportunities to beat the heat. Just make sure the event ends while you have enough light to shoot safely.
3. Provide Water
Keep participants hydrated with free water or sports drinks with electrolytes. Individual bottles are expensive, so buy a few 5-gallon dispensers and paper cups, and create hydration stations nearby for easy access. Then, encourage archers to drink up! Don’t forget the ice!
4. Provide Shade
Whether it’s a pop-up tent or natural tree canopy, make sure your activities have shade that keeps participants out of the sun as much as possible to prevent sunburn and heatstroke. If you can’t hold your event in shaded areas, make sure participants can sit in shade nearby when needing a break, preferably near hydration stations.
5. Take Breaks
Heat and dehydration can make participants feel tired and sluggish. That’s because our bodies work harder to regulate their internal temperature when it’s hot, according to Live Science. To combat drowsiness, provide regular breaks in shaded areas or an air-conditioned facility so participants can rest, rehydrate and recharge.
6. Provide Refreshing Treats
Cold treats like popsicles, slushies or frozen grapes are fun, refreshing snacks for children and adults. They’re a great reward for surviving the heat.
Besides all those tips, make sure you and your employees are trained in basic first-aid and CPR techniques. Trained staff are crucial for identifying symptoms of dehydration and heat exhaustion, and can quickly manage the situation. Find a training class nearby on the American Red Cross website.
And if it’s too hot to shoot safely, it’s best to stay indoors. Pass the time with archery-related activities. Teach students to fletch arrows and maintain their equipment, or show them archery-specific stretches and workouts. Also introduce them to next-step activities like bowhunting and bowfishing. Use the ATA’s Explore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing program curriculums to help.