Why It Matters: Archery in schools programs are an excellent opportunity for youth to be introduced to the sporting community. An estimated 14 million youth have benefitted from participation in archery in schools programs nationwide. Getting youth involved in archery in schools programs is an important hunter recruitment tool, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) is committed to supporting recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) programs.
- The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) provides opportunities for youth and young adults in grades 4-12 in public, private, and homeschool settings.
- The Archery Trade Association’s Explore Bow Hunting Program provides students the opportunity to interact with the natural environment and strengthen their appreciation for wildlife and woods.
- The Scholastic Archery Association’s DBA Scholastic 3-D Archery (S3DA) Program educates and guides youth in 3-D, indoor, and outdoor target archery and teaches ethical bowhunting practices.
- Archery in schools programs allow students the opportunity to build self-confidence in a competitive and safe manner. Students can earn college scholarships to compete at the collegiate level.
- Through the exposure to archery in schools programs, many students go on to become hunters.
As a kid growing up in Kentucky, I was constantly around archery and bow hunting long before starting high school. I was also among the first high school students to be on the archery team at my high school. Our team formed my freshman year and is still going strong today, frequently sending members to compete at the NASP National Championship in Louisville, KY.
It was not uncommon to meet shooters from other schools at competitions that would proudly tell their stories on how NASP created the opportunity for them to shoot competitively and earn college scholarships that otherwise may not have been available or attainable.
Most importantly, archery in schools programs allow students to find a true passion that they will carry with them for a lifetime. Oftentimes, students would go on to recruit friends to take up the sport in which they may otherwise have never been interested. These students may eventually go on to purchase their own archery equipment, supplies and possibly even hunting licenses which, through the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF), will generate critical conservation dollars for the state. An estimated 1 out of every 4 students that participate in archery in schools programs report buying a hunting license.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education interpreted language in the Elementary and Secondary Schools Education Act in a manner that threatens funding for archery in schools and hunters education courses, among others. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and CSF are working to address this policy issue to protect these valued youth programs to allow students of all ages to enter the world of shooting sports and become life-long members of the sporting community.