Archery program thriving in schools

The National Archery in the Schools Program was actually started by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources in 2002. Its purpose was to address the lack of archery competition shooting in physical education classes of public schools. To date, millions of youth have participated in this program, not only in the United States, but also in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

NASP teaches two-week archery classes to students in the grades 4 through 12. Some of the topics that are discussed with this subject include the history of the sport, equipment, safety, proper techniques, concentration, physical fitness and self-improvement.

The teachers themselves must complete an eight-hour NASP Basic Archery Instructor Training Program prior to teaching the course. Archers often shoot in a school gymnasium at a distance of five-to-seven yards at an 80-centimeter paper target They can be raised or set at floor level in front of an arrow curtain, which serves as a back stop.

Starting archery shooters use a compound-style Genesis bow. This type of bow is ideal for NASP shooters, but it is not the best for serious competitive archery shooting. For example, the Olympic Games require a recurve bow. If a NASP archer wants to go to the Olympics, he or she will have to learn how to use a recurve bow.

This also applies to any type of bowhunting as well. If an NASP archer wants to advance to bowhunting, they should learn how to use a compound bow with a much higher draw-weight and mechanical release. The NASP program has introduced millions of school-aged students to archery shooting in a fun, interesting and safe manner.

New for 2018, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources would like to invite physical education instructors to participate in this exciting educational project called “West Virginia Archery in the Schools Program.” In this program, physical education students will have the opportunity to learn a skill that could last a lifetime. Skilled archery shooting has no barriers like other sporting activities. The same holds true for any type of firearm shooting as well.

Archery shooting is something that boys and girls of all sizes can easily become involved with. It does not matter whether they are in school or out.

In the last 20-30 years, there has been a growing interest in bowhunting among all of the sportsmen and women in this state. While I have never been any kind of a bowhunter, I can certainly don’t want to discourage anyone who would like to learn how to become a skilled archer. The number of people who go hunting in any manner has been on the decline for several years in a row. A program like this presents the opportunity for the interest in sport hunting to rebound.

The DNR would certainly like for anyone who has an interest in the “Great Outdoors” to discuss this program with county Board of Education members and physical education instructors. If this program is going to be successful in West Virginia, it may need the assistance from additional sources like the Izaak Walton League of America and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

For additional information about this program or to attend one of the scheduled upcoming training courses, contact Kayla Donathan at 304-558-2721, or email Kayla.M.Donathan@wv.gov.