I’m the manager of an U14’s football team, which means every time we reach the end of a season, or Christmas comes round, we have to arrange a big treat for all the kids. Usually, we just treat the boys to a cinema trip or a game of bowling, but this year we really wanted to push the boat out and do something extra special. They were top of the local kids league, so it only seemed right that me and the other parents put on a big celebration for them, so we could end the year on a high.

You need parental consent for the activities they take part in, plus we don’t have much money to spare for the party- finding something exciting, cheap and acceptable to the parents is easier said than done. Most of the kids had already been paintballing, whilst we had to make sure we stuck within the limits of our budget. I was about to throw in the towel and go for another cinema night when I found the National Archery website.

Just a short drive from us, there was a brand new combat archery venue. This was a new sport that none of the lads had been a part of before, but it was perfect. It let them go wild and have a whale of a time, whilst none of the parents would complain, because it was designed to be as mad as possible without the risk of anybody getting hurt. There is more risk from the kids playing football than any of the other activities, but a lot of the adults are yet to realise that!

It wasn’t exactly a typical Christmas celebration, but the boys couldn’t wait when they found out we were going for a combat archery experience. With the amount of Christmas decorations around the city and all the Christmas music on the radio, I couldn’t blame them for wanting a non-Christmassy Christmas party- the day was still weeks away, but we were all sick of it already!

When we got to the site on the day of the party, the boys were eager to go to battle. After spending all year working together as a team, they couldn’t wait to see who was the best out of the lot of them- they were more pumped for this than they usually are before kick-off. The staff at the site were all incredibly friendly and talked through the rules of the game in an incredibly fun way; they loved having a laugh with the team and wanted to make their day on the battlefield as fun as possible.

When the game was over, it got a breathless thumbs up from everybody. They all agreed this was the best Christmas party they’ve been taken on so far and are definitely going to come back and play again. One of the lads even started texting his friends who aren’t on the team what they were doing at the weekend, as he was so desperate to go back for round two. I am very happy the day was a success. The boys will definitely be booking with National Archery again- and so will I!