The National Archery in the Schools Program® (NASP®) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that aims to improve academic performance, various outdoor skills, and shooting sports participation by providing opportunities for students in grades 4-12 to participate in archery at their local school. To date, over 7.2 million youth have participated in the program.
More than 2 million students in 47 states, and 11 countries participate in the National Archery in Schools Program® (NASP®) annually. NASP® is a non-profit 501(c)(3) for students in grades 4-12. School archery programs are safe, build student self-esteem, and introduce kids and families to shooting sports through target archery. These programs are popular with teachers because success in archery can be achieved by students of all genders, abilities, and backgrounds and, according to teachers, participation in NASP® improves student grades, behavior, and school attendance. An estimated 10 million kids have participated in archery through school programs and an estimated 50-81% of those students go on to buy personal archery equipment, 65% of them indicate that they intend on being a lifetime archer, and 27% of them report buying a hunting license. Despite over 13,000 school participating in NASP®, there remains an opportunity for the program to continue expanding to more and more schools each year.
NASP® started when Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) Commissioner Tom Bennett wanted archery to become a “high school sport choice.” The KDFWR hosted a “Step Outside” event to introduce the Kentucky Department of Education to the sport of archery. The Department of Education agreed to help if the program was started as a PE class in middle school. The program began in 21 Kentucky Middle Schools and has grown to over 13,350 schools nationwide lead by over 20,000 NASP® certified archery teachers.
Points of Interest
- Funding support should be protected within NASP® program budgets for coordinators, instructor training, and equipment purchases.
- Expanding archery programs to additional schools should continue to be a priority.
- Encourage fish and wildlife agency utilization of Pittman-Robertson funds for NASP® and community archery programs.
- State and local funding opportunities should be explored for both indoor and outdoor shooting facilities as a part of city and county parks.
- Archery parks and ranges need to be located within a reasonable distance of schools with programs and these facilities need to be child and family friendly.
- Current recreational facilities could be expanded or adapted in many cases to include archery.
- NASP® is available to homeschool children. Those who are enrolled in a homeschool educational environment can enroll in NASP® and benefit from the program just as much as those in public or private schools.
Archery program start-ups have been successful but continued funding, support, and the creation of community archery programs in each state is necessary to continue this success. Currently, the after-school and out-of-school needs of participants are being underserved. A majority of communities lack archery in local recreation programs and shooting locations are few and far between. Recruitment into archery and other shooting sports will not continue without providing additional locations and opportunities for participants to practice. The Archery Trade Association has entered into memorandums of understanding with many state natural resource agencies to effectively utilize funds to further develop archery in the school and community archery programs. Only through repeated exposure to archery will youth have a chance to make archery part of their recreational lives.
In the spirit of advancing our nation’s hunting heritage and improving hunter recruitment and retention, legislators should explore and support legislative options that make archery programs more readily available in our children’s schools.
For more information regarding this issue, please contact:
Bee Frederick (334) 593-6988; Bee@sportsmenslink.org
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