High school sports keep youngsters involved, motivated, and promote graduation rates, yet many students believe they are not fast enough, strong enough, or physically talented enough to make varsity team. Conversely, high school archery competitions, under the province of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), offer boundless opportunity and highly motivated participation.
When NASP becomes part of the school’s curriculum in physical education, art, or other regular class, research shows how students respond:
- 83% like Archery
- 77% are new to archery
- 70% like their teacher better
- 65% intend to be life-long archers
- 53% like themselves better.
Lou Compton, Maryland’s NASP Coordinator addressed the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers at a recent meeting in Calvert County Maryland and spoke to the difference NASP can make in a child’s life:
“There are no archery jocks,” he began. “Archery is so wide open that you don’t have to be the fastest, strongest, or smartest to participate. Our team size is 24, but a school can have more than one team. If you have 100 kids who want to shoot competitive archery, they can all play.
According to Compton, an equal number of school participants are girls and boys. “Girls know how to stay focused and frequently can out-shoot the boys,” he says. “During my first year, I had a seventh-grade girl out-shoot our male, high school champion.”
Archery is for Everyone
Inclusiveness is perhaps NASP’s greatest attribute. “We have kids with ADHD, Asperger syndrome, and other challenges that do very well. I’ve seen kids in wheel chairs, on crutches and even one blind archer,” Compton said. “When you have youngsters with physical or mental challenges and they are on that shooting line, they are just like every other kid and that’s one of the beautiful things about this program. It touches your soul, it gives them the normalcy many athletes take for granted.”
NASP starts in elementary, grades 4 & 5, 6-8 in middle school, and 9-12 in high school One of the most important parts of the program is that it’s taught as part of the regular school day. “If it was an after-school program, like other clubs, we’d be preaching to the choir,” Compton says. “Kids quickly learn, ‘Hey this is cool, I can do this.’ Our high schools are filled with kids that don’t know how to fit in. Their journals often include notes like ‘Nobody talked to me again today.’ This helps them directly by involving them in social situations and athletic events where they can succeed.”
A National Movement
NASP is the largest youth archery program in history and currently serves 2.23 million student archers. It continues to grow at about 1,000 school per year, due to its ever-increasing relevance to promote student success and academic emphasis. In 2016, NASP awarded more than $300,000 in cash scholarships to state, provincial, and national tournament winners. These funds were spent to aid with post-secondary tuition costs.
Spread the Word
Do your local schools participate in NASP? If not, why not? Imagine introducing a “subject” in schools that most kids love, will help them make friends and build self-confidence, can earn scholarships in future years, and includes “homework” that’s embraced and always completed. Contact NASP at www.naspschools.org and call or visit your local school.
NEW National Archery in Schools Program Genesis Arrow
New Arrow Color Voting: Open Now
Passion for archery starts at a young age and Easton is committed to putting the right equipment into the hands of competitors. Easton is a sponsor of the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP), and manufactures the Genesis arrows used NASP competition. Starting today, the voting to help choose a new arrow color will begin. Options for this year include, woodland camo, cinnamon red, black, silver and yellow. Students will have the opportunity to cast their vote online at eastonarchery.com/nasp/