WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
It’s been three years since 12-year-old Camden Neville first picked up his uncle’s bow around Easter in 2013.
Under his uncle’s supervision, Neville picked up the recursive bow – a bow with limbs that curve away from the archer when unstrung and fires arrows faster than other bows – and fired his first shot.
Watching the arrow fly was a rush that overwhelmed Neville, who said he needed more of that feeling so he spent the rest of the day shooting his uncle’s bow.
Today, Neville practices shooting his own bows three hours a day during target practice, preparing for his next national or international competition.
Last month, the Williamsburg archer was recognized by the Virginia House of Delegates for his accomplishments. Among those accomplishments are winning three national archery championships, including a Junior Olympic competition, and placing fifth at the 2015 World Archery Festival’s Freestyle Unlimited Cub Male division, one of archery’s most prestigious indoor tournaments.
And that’s just within the past year.
“Not only does this young man now compete as a United States Archery Junior Olympic Compound athlete, but he is also blessed with a compassionate servant’s heart,” Del. Brenda Pogge (R-Dist. 96) said while introducing Neville to the Virginia House of Delegates. “Camden demonstrates consistently distinguished character, a healthy competitive spirit, and sets high standards of personal performance.”
For a 12-year-old, Neville displays a focus uncommon for children his age. While other children play with friends, play video games or watch TV, Neville is busy practicing and perfecting the flight of his arrows.
His routine is the same whether practicing alone or competing in front of other world-class archers. With music blaring from his headphones, Neville focuses his eyes down range and draws his bow. In a split second, Neville lets an arrow fly from his fingertips before hitting a stationary target with a soft thud.
It’s a sequence that has become somewhat of a second nature for Neville, who has visions of grandeur that go beyond winning national events and receiving accolades from government bodies.
The Junior Olympian hopes to parlay his passion for archery into a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in the future, eventually hoping to earn the title of world champion.
“It’s amazing,” Neville said about his archery accomplishments at such a young age. “But I always know I can get better. I stay focused, do the best I can and have fun.”
In the meantime, Neville continues to travel around the country for archery competitions with some of the best youth archers around the world.
One such competition, the 2016 Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) Indoor Nationals, begins today at James Madison University. Neville will look to defend his national championship in the compound bow division, which he won during last year’s JOAD Indoor Nationals.