National Archery in the Schools Program getting kids involved in shooting sports
By Tim Tipton
Thousands of young archers from across the country recently made their way to Louisville to participate in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) National Championships. This was the sixth year for the national tournament and to proclaim the program a success would be a huge understatement. The event set a new record with 4,565 shooters from fourth through twelfth grades.
NASP began in the planning stages in August of 2001 and was the brainchild of former Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) Commissioner Tom Bennett and former KDFWR Wildlife Director Roy Grimes. The program was launched in March of 2002 with 21 Kentucky middle schools initially involved. The program was later expanded to include elementary and high schools.
Today NASP is in nearly 5000 schools in 46 states and five countries and it is still expanding. The growth of NASP has surprised even Bennett.
“We wanted to do something to get more kids involved in the shooting sports,” Bennett says. “When we started it, we thought it would get this big, but we actually thought it would take at least 10 years.”
According to Bennett, the program was begun in the hopes of improving hunting license sales. The state of Kentucky was losing two percent of their license sales and it is hoped that this can be made up by introducing the sport of archery to kids who might not otherwise have gotten involved in hunting. However, there are other benefits to getting kids into the program.
“It brings kids with different backgrounds together in a way that is not provided by other activities,” said Jodi Grant, sponsor of Eastside Middle School’s team in Mt. Washington, KY. “It brings out kids not involved in other activities. In archery anybody can participate, you don’t have to be the biggest, strongest or most athletic to be involved. That opens a lot of doors for kids that otherwise would not participate in extracurricular activities.”
Bennett see’s the benefits of archery being taught as part of the physical education curriculum and says there is more to it than trying to put an arrow in a bull’s eye.
“The sport of archery teaches young people to focus, concentrate and practice,” he said.
“By teaching the kids these skills, it carries over to other parts of their life and these are skills to be used throughout their life.”
That is something that many of the young archers agreed on.
“Archery has taught me how to concentrate because I have always had a problem concentrating,” said12-year-old Rande Hopkins of Kaufman, TX.
The sixth grader was competing for the first time in Louisville and said the level of competition at nationals is humbling.
“Even if you’re the best in your state, you might not be the best at nationals because there are so many good shooters,” she said.
Hopkins’ friend and teammate Kylie Gardner was also making her first trip to the nationals after finishing third in the state of Texas. She enjoys the chance to travel with her friends and family and the perks offered in Louisville and surrounding areas.
“It is a lot of fun because we get to miss school and be with our friends,” Gardner said. “While we were here we went to the Louisville Slugger Museum and on our way here we stopped at the Country Music Hall of Fame.”
If you are interested in getting your school involved, you can get information at www.archeryintheschools.org.
NASP Final Results
1.) Trigg County Intermediate --- Cadiz, KY
2.) Meigs Intermediate --- Middleport, OH
3.) Westonka Elementary --- Minnetrista, MN
4.) Zaneis School --- Wilson, OK
5.) Maysville Elementary --- Zanesville, OH
Elementary Individual Female:
1.) Katie Rappuhn, Breitling Elementary --- Grand Bay, AL
2.) Kayla Dowell, Payneville Elementary --- Payneville, KY
3.) Jordan Lewis, George Guffey Elementary --- Fenton, MO
4.) Kaila Cunningham, Trigg County Intermediate --- Cadiz, KY
5.) Meredith Noland, Chickasha Elementary --- Chickasha, OK
Elementary Individual Male:
1.) Kolt Perkins, Zaneis School --- Wilson, OH
2.) Jeremy Elliot, Corbin Intermediate --- Corbin, KY
3.) Clayton Knott, Payneville Elementary --- Payneville, KY
4.) Blake Taylor, Lewisburg Elementary --- Lewisburg, KY
5.) Keenan Jones, Bondurant Middle --- Frankfort, KY
Middle School Team:
1.) Ashville Middle School --- Ashville, AL
2.) Henderson South Middle School ---Henderson, KY
3.) Stuart Pepper Middle School --- Brandenburg, KY
4.) Maysville Middle School --- Zanesville, OH
5.) Boyd County Middle School --- Ashland, KY
Middle School Individual Female:
1.) Patsy Banister, Trigg County Middle School ---Cadiz, KY
2.) Stephanie Whisenant, Ashville Middle School --- Ashville, AL
3.) Shaye Patterson, Trigg County Middle School --- Cadiz, KY
4.) Brianna Gilliam, Elliot County High School --- Sandy hook, KY
5.) Jessica Workman, East Noble High School --- Kendallville, IN
Middle School Individual Male:
1.) Taylor Knott, Stuart Pepper Middle School --- Brandenburg, KY
2.) Nathan Owens, Ashville Middle School --- Ashville, AL
3.) Hunter Brown, J.D. Adams Middle School --- Prestonsburg, KY
4.) Ethan Flynn, Henderson South Middle School --- Henderson, KY
5.) Micah Baker, Ashville Middle School --- Ashville, AL
High School Team:
1.) Henderson County High School --- Henderson, KY
2.) Trigg County High School --- Cadiz, KY
3.) Meade County High School --- Brandenburg, KY
4.) Maysville High School --- Zanesville, OH
5.) Alma Bryant High School --- Irvington, AL
High School Individual Female:
1.) Jessica Nystrom, Hartland High School --- Hartland, MI
2.) Danielle Reddick, Trigg County High School --- Cadiz, KY
3.) Brandi Waters, Meade County High School --- Brandenburg, KY
4.) Lindsey Carr, Madison Southern High School --- Berea, KY
5.) Kelsey Taylor, Morgan High School --- McConnelsville, OH
High School Individual Male:
1.) Adrian Sprankle, Maysville High School --- Zanesville, OH
2.) Will Thompson, Breckenridge County High School --- Harned, KY
3.) Jacob Riffle, Meigs High School --- Pomeroy, OH
4.) Eugene Patterson, Meigs High School --- Pomeroy, OH
5.) Ethan Gish, Henderson County High School --- Henderson, KY