Minnesota schools interested in starting or improving physical education based archery classes can get equipment grants through the DNR as part of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).
The DNR is partnering with the archery industry and the conservation community to expand access to school-based archery programs through reduced cost equipment, teacher training and curriculum development.
Archery equipment packages are available to at least 25 schools for greatly reduced costs. A complete package of 11 bows, five dozen arrows, five targets and safety backstop netting costs the DNR about $2,600. Schools or non-profit organizations willing to sponsor schools will be required to provide matching funds of $1,300 for each package. The equipment grants will be allocated on a competitive basis, with a preference given to programs that will reach the greatest number of student archers.
Educators and archery instructors have developed a curriculum that exceeds the National Physical Education Standards entitled "On Target for Life." The curriculum provides guidelines for a two-week Olympic style target archery program in which students learn the basics of archery safety, history and techniques. In states where the program has already been implemented, teachers report that attendance has increased and at-risk students have been engaged in class as never before, according to National Archery in the Schools Program coordinator Roy Grimes.
"Archery is a life-sport that anyone can participate in," Grimes said. "Students that might not be the most athletic can do archery and be successful, which is important for building self-esteem."
Teachers who participate in the Archery in the Schools Program are required to become certified as National Archery Association instructors. The DNR is facilitating training sessions throughout the state that provide comprehensive instruction on how to set up safe and effective introductory archery classes. The 12-hour course should qualify for continuing education credits for most physical education instructors.
"Target archery has a long tradition in Minnesota gym classes," said Ryan Bronson, DNR coordinator for the archery program. "We want to continue that tradition by addressing some of the problems schools have had with their archery programs, particularly the cost of equipment, safety training and a standards-based curriculum."
John Guenther, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director, said the DNR's involvement with school archery classes makes a lot of sense.
"A major source of funding for state wildlife agencies comes from excise taxes on sporting goods such as archery equipment," Guenther said. "Our ability to manage the state's resources is greatly affected by recreational archers who purchase this equipment, so introducing people to archery helps the long-term stability of wildlife management."
The Minnesota Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is also cooperating on the program as a major sponsor. Information about the Archery in the Schools Grant Program is available on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/harr/index.html or by contacting Ryan Bronson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.