By PETER KASPARI
When Dave Anderson found out that he was going to be inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame this year, he described his reaction as being “a little surprised, I guess.”
Anderson, of rural Fort Dodge, was one of 119 4-H’ers who was inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame on Sunday at the Iowa State Fair.
He was inducted because of his work as an archery instructor for Webster County 4-H’ers, something he has done since 2006.
A lifelong archer himself who also owns an archery business, Anderson said he was first asked to help with Webster County 4-H’ers in the ’80s.
“It goes back to 1985, when we first opened our archery club in Fort Dodge,” Anderson said. “There was a couple years after that, probably in the late ’80s, I ws approached to become the archery instructor for the 4-H shooting sports at that time.”
But after he went through the training to become an instructor, there was no interest among the 4-H’ers, and Anderson said “the program never took off.”
Finally, about 20 years later, Anderson had another chance to help teach Webster County 4-H’ers archery.
“And then, in 2006, I was asked to do it again,” he said. “I went through the archery training that year to become certified for 4-H. And I also am a certified level three NTS (National Training System) coach and I got that certification in 2005.”
Over the years as the 4-H archery instructor, Anderson said he’s seen the youth he’s coached move on to successes.
“We’ve also had kids go to state tournaments,” he said. “They’ve gone three years in a row. We’ve had kids go to the national 4-H shooting sports out of Grand Island, Nebraska.”
Seeing the 4-H youth improve their skills is his favorite part of being an instructor.
“I like to see how the kids develop and how they pick it up,” he said. “You take kids that have been there for a year and see how they progress.”
Anderson added that archery is all about form.
“They learn the form,” he said. “It’s like riding a bicycle. Once you learn you can put it down for years and pick it up and it just comes back to you. As long as you’ve got the right basic training to start with and don’t develop bad habits, which is very easily done.”
But Anderson said that’s common in any sport.
“I guess that’s what coaches are for,” he said with a smile, describing the coaches’ main role being that of an observer.
“It doesn’t make any difference what kind of coach you are, whether it’s football, baseball, basketball,” he said. “They’re always there observing your kids to see if they can improve.”
Anderson, who was in 4-H himself when he was younger, said it’s a very helpful organization for young people.
“It gives them many opportunities of different things to explore,” he said. “When I was first in 4-H, 4-H was livestock and homemaking stuff. Now they brought in the shooting sports, rocketry and photography. There’s all kinds of different things to do with their interests.”
Lindsay Kavanaugh, Webster County 4-H youth coordinator, praised Anderson in a written statement announcing his induction into the hall of fame.
“Dave enjoys seeing youth pick up a bow for the first time and watching them progress over time,” she said. “He is extremely patient and loves to share his knowledge with the youth.”
She added that Anderson takes the youth to archery competitions to help further their skills.
“Several 4-H members who have had the opportunity to learn from Dave mentioned how he is ‘an outstanding leader, and wonderful teacher,'” Kavanaugh said.
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