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Youth committee expands programs, teaches new skills

WEVERTOWN - Chris Denno strung his bow and grabbed a quiver May 27 as he made his way to the firing line.

"My aiming has really improved now that I am practicing more often," he said.

In an attempt to increase recreational opportunities for area youth, the Johnsburg Youth Committee is teaching two new courses - tumbling/gymnastics and archery - under the direction of retired gym teacher Paul LoGuerzio.

"Both programs do a lot for the kids," LoGuerzio said. "They learn things like muscle memory, endurance, strength building and coordination."

Each program is offered twice a week, with archery taking place at LoGuerzio's home on Harrington Road.

"Right now I work with kids in grades three through six," he said. "There is a real understanding of physics one gets from handling a bow and arrow."

Most of the 12 children in the gymnastic program had little, if any, experience before beginning the program.

"I have them doing hand-stands on parallel bars," LoGuerzio said proudly. "We are doing our best to supplement the opportunities the kids have at the school."

LoGuerzio said he hopes to start a ballroom dancing class in the next year, which could accommodate up to 40 students. The current programs can hold up to 12, he said.

"These are all olympic sports," he said. "A good gymnast will be good at almost any physical activity."

Many professional football wide receivers have taken gymnastics and ballet as a means of expanding their on-field skill set.

"My kids are more enthusiastic about archery than any other activity - they look forward to it all week," Susan Tomb said of her three children who participate in the program. "Paul really has an ability to relate with and teach kids."

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