Looking for an activity that provides exercise, improves math skills, teaches etiquette, requires focus, reduces stress, and is – oh, yeah – lots of fun?
Archery is gaining in popularity all over the U.S. in schools, recreation districts, home-school associations, retirement communities, and clubs. Once administrators see the National Safety Council’s numbers ranking archery as one of the safest sports, once they understand just how easy and affordable it is to set up and run an archery program, and once their first class fills up with happy participants who want more…it’s no surprise that Archery is the hot new trend in recreation.
Students are often introduced to archery in P.E. class, scouts, or camp, which typically run shorter programs aimed at beginners. Many park and recreation departments are now seeing the demand for a more sustained archery program where students can improve their skills, eventually acquire their own equipment, and practice for competition.
Archery is contagious. Many recreation departments start with a beginner’s class for kids but end up offering classes for teens, families, seniors, plus competitive teams and leagues.
For those with Olympic dreams, archery has many advantages. The equipment is affordable, official competitions are held all over the country and are open (don’t require pre-qualification), and archery can be practiced year round, indoors or out. The JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) program, from USA Archery, archery’s Olympic governing body for the United States, is easy to offer and is one of the archery programs available from NADA, the National Alliance for the Development of Archery.
Other programs offered by NADA include The Way of The Bow, an archery curriculum that explores the diverse culture and history of archery (Japanese Kyudo, Native American, Ancient Roman, and others) in addition to learning how to shoot. ArrowFaith, a faith-based curriculum that explores the personal virtues that are necessary if one aspires to excel at archery (such as responsibility, perseverance, mindfulness, and others) combines the fun of shooting with personal development. GoArchery! is a program designed by two-time Olympic coach Lloyd Brown to set up beginners with optimal form while having fun learning the sport. Information on these and other archery programs is available at www.TeachArchery.org.