The 2015 World Archery Youth Championships (WAYC) officially kicked-off the week-long competition Sunday evening – and it was one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
The little knowledge I have of the archery sport (outside of two-weeks in my 9th grade P.E. class) I’ve acquired in the 3 and 1/2 short weeks I have been in Yankton. Leading up to the opening ceremony, I’ve covered countless aspects of organizer and community efforts’ to pull off an event of this magnitude. I’ve been ready for this event to be underway for quite some time.
Sunday, as I stood with my media vest on next to hundreds of archers/coaches/officials, I got to experience something I never imagined would have given me goosebumps.
Maybe it was the Parade of Nations-where community volunteers and city safety and rescue officials formed a line of the 52 country’s flags. Maybe it was the South Dakota National Guard band who sang contemporary songs popular to the world’s youth. Perhaps it was Amanda Payne of The One Arm Bandit & Company and her performing buffalo.
While each of these attributes combined to make a special and memorable ceremony, it was something much greater that I will never forget.
Members from the Osni Ponca Heduska Society Native American group wore their native, traditional dress and shared with the world song and dance. The group sang a welcome song and one blessing archery, the sport that connects the international archers with the Native’s history.
But the group wasn’t finished yet – they had plans to unite the world together. The group invited the archers to join in dance, forming something similar to a massive conga line. At first, archers slowly and a bit shyly approached the center of the outdoor stage. The spark caught rapid fire, the remainder of archer’s running to be a part the dance.
One member of the Native group led the line, a sea of international archers just behind.
It was one world united at the opening ceremony in the small community of Yankton, South Dakota.
Despite world conflicts, the 52 country’s youth archers and Native group sent a message to the world.