All new members of Aquarius Archery Club have a mandatory minimum three month probation period, whether they are completely new to the sport, or a very experienced archer. This page explains why we have the probationary period and details the opportunities to shoot while an archer does not yet have keys to the club premises.
1. Why have a Probationary Period?
Archery is a weapon sport. Therefore, safety is always our number one concern. As such, the club has a duty to our members, our neighbours and our landlords to be as certain as we can be that anyone we give access to the club will behave in a safe, responsible and courteous manner.
In addition, our governing body requires all archers through their club affiliation to adhere to certain rules and codes of conduct. Because of this, all members must read Archery GB’s “Rules of Shooting” which you can download here. Your insurance as an archer is conditional upon adherence to these rules. Put simply: if there were to be an “incident” and it then came to light that you did not adhere to these rules, then you and the club are likely to be uninsured – which could have very severe implications for you and the club.
To that end, we (the club and its members) must get to know you before we allow you unlimited access to the club and its facilities. Our club is unusual in having 24/7 access to the club grounds. Most clubs run one or two sessions a week at fixed times, so do not have the requirement to assess members for extended access.
So, for a minimum of three months you are asked to come to the club when other full members are present, to shoot a prescribed set of rounds, accurately score those rounds and submit the scores to the club records officer. To do that you will need to meet and talk with other members and the club coaches. That way we will get to know you.
The rounds we ask you to shoot are not difficult. They should be well within the abilities of anybody starting out in our sport. But, if you do have problems talk to any of the coaches, who will be happy to assist. Being able to ask for help when you need it is all part of us getting to know you.
We are not expecting you to become a great archer in three months (although that would be nice). We want you to demonstrate that you are a safe, responsible and considerate archer, so that we can have the confidence to allow you to have keys to the club.
If, for any reason, we feel that you need further assistance and training it may be necessary to extend your probationary period. Such a decision is solely at the discretion of the coaches and the club committee and is not subject to appeal.
2. When can I shoot during my Probationary Period?
2.1 Summer Season
During the summer season access to the club is relatively easy:
- Tuesday evenings (7pm until 8pm) we have “improver training” which is targeted at new members, but is open to all members at any level.
- Wednesday evenings from 6pm coaches will be at the club for beginners courses. There isn’t a set end time – often we run until the light goes. If you have your own equipment you can shoot alongside other club members. If you don’t have your own equipment then you may borrow club equipment, but only when the beginners courses are fully equipped.
- Note: Beginners courses do not run on every Wednesday. We usually have one or two weeks break between courses. You can check course dates on the club calendar. Most Wednesdays there will be a keyholder at the club – but if you are concerned you can always check using the WhatsApp group.
- Thursday evenings (7pm until 8pm) we have another “improver training” evening.
- On Sundays between 10am and 12noon there is another junior session, which means that you will have access to the club ground at these times.
- If you like indoor shooting there are two local clubs that have indoor sessions on Saturday and Sunday afternoons all year round. It is important that you take your Archery GB card with you for entry. Fees vary.
In addition to the above you can come to the club at any time there is a keyholder present (ie there doesn’t have to be a coach present). We have a WhatsApp group that you can ask if anyone is planning on being at the club at times you are interested in – or you could “buddy up” with a full member and sort out times to shoot between you.
In practice, Saturdays are usually busy with members shooting – at least in decent weather – and a quick check on the WhatsApp group should tell you what is going on.
In summary: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday have times when you can shoot. Monday, Friday and Saturday you may be able to shoot, but you will need to sort out access with full members and/or coaches.
2.2 Winter Season
During the winter season the position is more difficult, as once the clocks go back there isn’t enough light to shoot in the evenings after work – so outdoor weekday evening sessions are not possible.
Times you can shoot:
- The juniors Sunday session (10am until 12noon) runs all year round, so you can shoot then.
- The club hires a hall at the Archer Academy to shoot an indoor round on Monday evenings from 7pm until 10pm. The session is open to all members (juniors & seniors) plus Archery GB card carrying guests from other clubs. Because of the hire costs the club charges a fee for this session.
- Other clubs also run indoor sessions that you can attend. It is important that you take your Archery GB card with you for entry. At the time of writing other clubs run evening sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, plus afternoon sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Fees vary.
The rest of the time you can use the WhatsApp group to ask if anyone is planning on being at the club at times you are interested in – or you could “buddy up” with a full member and sort out times to shoot between you.
It is undoubtedly more difficult to get access during the winter season as people are less likely to want to shoot in colder &/or wetter weather. As a result your probationary period could easily stretch beyond the three month minimum.
3. A caveat
The club is run by volunteers – the committee, coaches and event managers/helpers are all contributing their time, effort and expertise to keeping the club afloat. Nobody gets paid.
Occasionally, and for a variety of reasons, people won’t be able to be at the club to open up at advertised times. If that happens they will do their best to forewarn members, but that can’t always be guaranteed. In those cases members are asked to understand that problems can arise and make alternative arrangements with other keyholders if possible.