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Alabama's National Archery in the Schools Programs

Wildlife and the Outdoors

 

Alabama’s National Archery in the Schools Program

 

Ray Metzler, Hunter Education Coordinator

 

            A young lady released an arrow in the local school gymnasium that struck the Olympic style target in the center of the gold ring. The smile on her face showed her enthusiasm for the exciting new archery program being offered by her school as part of the physical education curriculum. Teachers across Alabama have given positive testimonials regarding the benefits of Alabama’s National Archery in the Schools Program. The positive attitude demonstrated in the gymnasium while shooting a bow has carried over to other classrooms such as English, Math, Science, and other core curriculum courses.

            Physical education teachers from 40 schools across Alabama have implemented the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). Approximately 125 teachers from 75 schools are certified to teach the two-week curriculum. This exciting new program is a result of a unique partnership between the Department of Education and the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). The program is modeled after a similar program created in Kentucky in 2002. Alabama was the second state to successfully implement the program. Approximately 16 other states have implemented the program since Alabama began its program in 2003. Approximately 31 states are expected to have implemented the NASP by the end of the 2004-05 school year.

            The NASP can positively influence thousands of young Alabamians and provide them with the opportunity to become involved in a life skill that has no barriers. Unlike many athletic activities, students of all sizes and physical capabilities can easily be involved in archery. Students receive basic training in Olympic-style archery with an emphasis on history, safety, proper techniques, equipment, and mental concentration.

            Physical education teachers must attend and complete training conducted by certified National Archery Association instructors prior to implementing the program. WFF employees provide the training for teachers at no cost to the school or teacher.

            The kit each school must obtain to implement the program contains 11 Mathews Genesis bows, five dozen arrows, five Olympic style targets, and an arrow resistant net. Suggested retail price for the archery kit is approximately $4,800, but the archery industry sells the kit to schools for approximately $2,350. The kit is available from the archery industry at this special school price as a result of a unique partnership between industry, schools, and state agencies. WFF is providing the next 30 schools to enroll in the program with seven bows that reduces the cost of a kit to approximately $1,625.

            Alabama’s first annual NASP state championship was held in April 2004 in Millbrook, Alabama. Approximately 211 students from 11 schools participated in the exciting event. The second annual championship will be held on April 26, 2005 at the Autauga County Agricultural Arena in Autaugaville. The Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries is expecting approximately 800 students to compete in this event.

            To find out how you can become involved in Alabama’s NASP, please call Ray Metzler, Hunter Education Coordinator, at 1-800-245-2740.

 


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