March NASP NEWS
March NASP NEWSFebruary 15, 2008 - Joel
By: Roy Grimes- President, NASP
Recreational Archers Help the National Archery in the Schools Program
Not long after it began on March 3, 2002 bowhunters and target archers began helping the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). During that first year the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources was contacted by target archers and bowhunters from the other 49 states, Alberta, Ontario, Spain, Morocco, Guam, Finland, and Ohio (just kidding my Buckeye friends!). While a few of these calls and e-mails were from teachers who had heard of the NASP, most were from archers. Most read of the program from their archery magazines and advertisements and a few heard about the effort from fellow tournament goers. It was these calls that caused the name to be changed from "Kentucky Archery in the Schools Program" to the current "NASP".
State bowhunter organizations were among the first groups to begin helping the NASP in their respective states. Organizations such as the United Bowhunters of Kentucky (UBK) were quick to join the effort. The UBK recommended schools to the program, told their teacher-friends about the effort, and donated money to purchase school archery equipment. Bowhunter groups in Michigan, Arizona, and Iowa learned of the NASP and immediately recognized its potential to help young people as well as archery. Some of these archery organizations began hosting special 3D archery tournaments for the sole purpose of raising funds to sponsor new schools. For instance, a $500 grant is often all it takes to give a prospective NASP school the leverage to raise another $2,400 to purchase their NASP equipment kit. Still other bowhunter groups, like the Pulaski County Bowhunters, left their weekend 3D targets out until Monday so 72 NASP students could ride the school bus to their range and shoot at foam bison, elk, and other fantastical beasts. A club that competes on Saturday might put their targets out on Friday morning and invite the local NASP school to come try the 3D game. Oh, and the kids get a huge thrill stalking a make believe caribou or coyote!
In some states it was bowhunters and target archers that inspired the state agency to take a serious look at the NASP. This was certainly the case in Clinton County Iowa where a shop teacher/ bowhunter learned of the program and called to get his state involved. In states like Missouri, Maryland, and Nebraska the state bowhunting organizations were eager to help train teachers for the program. In Canada, the Ministry of Education's architect who happened to be an officer in the Archer's Association of Nova Scotia, was instrumental in bringing the NASP to that country. Frankly, it has been the rare state where either or both the state bowhunter organization(s) or archery groups didn't play a key role in bringing the NASP to their schools.
One of the most common ways archers have helped the program get started and flourish in their locations is to become "teacher trainers" by taking the NASP's 3-day "Basic Archery Instructor Training" course (BAIT). These individuals agree to give up a weekend and a Monday to become NASP-trained. Then, when new schools call the coordinating agency to join the NASP, these folks spend a precious day certifying the teachers as "Basic Archery Instructors" (BAI). As a brother to these individuals, I am proud to report they are eager to learn a few new tricks and form techniques to be effective archery instructors. In fact, archers in many states such as North and South Dakota admit they are better archers as a result of the training.
Of course many of the archers who contact us envision themselves the archery instructor at their local elementary, middle, or high school. However, when they learn that NASP archery lessons are presented daily for 1-8 weeks 1-5 hours each school day, they understand the role is best served by the licensed teacher. In fact, most school systems won't permit a lay person to spend so much time on campus with their students. So, these archers are content to offer other assistance to the school program. They might assist with an after-school archery club or activity, help purchase replacement equipment, or repair the school's arrows or bows.
Finally, archers from all walks of life are often adept at organizing or helping to conduct an archery tournament. These men and women are invaluable to their NASP coordinating agency when it is time to establish the "culminating event" – the state NASP tournament. In most states such as Washington, Wisconsin, Texas, & Pennsylvania these tournaments could not be conducted without the bowhunters' or field archers' expertise. At the upcoming NASP Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, May 10th nearly 100 volunteers will be needed to help students score arrows, maintain bows, and replace arrow nocks. Many of these critical tournament staff will be recreational archers from around Kentucky and nearby states. (If you'd like to volunteer, please contact Holly Grady at (608) 269-0832).
It is a fact that the NASP wouldn't be in nearly 5,000 schools in 45 states and three countries if it weren't for the efforts of enthusiastic recreational archers. We expect this to always be the case even when the NASP is as common in school as volleyball and Friday pizza! If you or your archery organization wants to help the NASP in your area, please contact the state coordinator (see "contacts" at http://www.archeryintheschools.org/). You might offer to assist in ways listed above or you may suggest new and innovative strategies to assure that every young person has the opportunity to discover they can do…ARCHERY!