If you’re looking for something new to do, consider taking slingshot lessons.
Andrew M. Cislo owner of Fork Plus Band Slingshot in Meriden, will give an introduction to Slingshot Target Shooting. Lessons start Father’s Day — June 19 — and will take place at Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort in Middlefield. The price is $45 per person for a 90-minute lesson, equipment included. Group lessons for 10 or more are also available. For more information, call (866) 860-0208.
Safety protocols will be in place during the lessons.
“Only shooters will be allowed in the practice field and everyone will be wearing safety glasses,” Cislo said.
Practice ammo made out of clay will be used along with lightweight bands.
“They are accurate but not dangerous,” he said.
Cislo also advises caution for those allergic to latex, since the bands are made of natural latex.
How the journey began
“During the pandemic, I had a lot of time on my hands,” Cislo said. “I was recovering from a major health crisis where I almost died and wanted to do something that would help heal my mind and it’s a meditation for me.”
Cislo, who has been shooting for about two and a half years, said it all started with a woodpecker.
“I had this slingshot in my closet that I bought at the store and wanted to give to my daughter, but then there was this woodpecker that started pecking my chimney,” Cislo said. “So I wanted to try and scare it with the slingshot but then I realized how hard it actually was.”
This incident prompted Cislo to want to improve. He started looking on the internet for equipment and realized the sling shot he was using did not have an accurate aim.
“I realized that I needed to customize one with accurate measurements for my hand,” he said. “We all have different bodies and different draws.”
Eventually Cislo decided it was time to open his own business. He is also a sociologist with a doctorate in medical sociology. He specializes in health disparities for racial and ethnic minorities, including Latinos. Cislo is of Chilean and Puerto Rican descent.
Fork Plus Band Slingshot is located in the NESIT Makerspace at 290 Pratt St. According to its website, NESIT Markerspace is a non-profit organization that offers a collaborative environment for people to build things.
“I have my workshop there because I’m able to use the equipment provided and it helps incubate my ideas,” Cislo said.
On Fridays from 7 to 10 p.m. the public is able to meet the members of the NESIT Makerspace and tour the workshops.
Cislo is in the process of creating his own slingshot line.
“I have placed my order…but the materials I need will take a while to get here,” he said. “I’m looking forward to having my own line but for right now, I sometimes customize slingshots for individuals.”
Laura Parasiliti Rebeschi, one of Cislo’s customers, bought a slingshot for her husband.
“…he has a pressure job…I really wanted him to have something that could help him release the stress,” Rebeschi said.
Cislo asked for measurements of her husband’s hand to customize the slingshot.
…I’m so happy that my husband enjoyed it,” she said.
For more information, visit the Fork Plus Band Facebook page.