Last updated: July 18. 2013 1:58PM - 224 Views
Debbie Rolen
Staff Writer

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OMAR – A trip to the Hunting and Fishing Exhibition started the process for the Beth Haven Christian School (BHCS) to establish an archery program at their school.

BHCS Principal Regina Vance said several students who visited the expo were inspired by the Bow Hunters Association and enlisted her support to get them in the National Archery in Schools Program.

The program is target-style archery and is taught in 10,000 schools in 47 states and five other countries. NASP teaches a lifetime shooting skill to 1,000,000 4th-12th grade students annually—almost 40 percent are girls. Many participants go on to become hunters and anglers. The program focuses on safety and proudly boasts of never having an injury.

Vance applied for and received an $800 grant to use toward the purchase of equipment, which cost $3,000. The school has four instructors: Bill McDonald, Daniel Vance, Katie Maynard and Principal Vance. They all completed training sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources and were certified as instructors.

Daniel Vance says he loves the program. “It’s not just for athletes or gifted kids, it’s for everyone. Even special needs children can participate and know what it feels like to be part of a team.”

Katie Maynard teaches physical education classes at the school and says she was happy to have the program at the school. “I have been using a bow since childhood. Being part of this program has rekindled my interest and dream of shooting in competition.”

Principal Vance says that between 80 and 90 students in the 3rd through 12th grades participate in the program. Third grade students are allowed to participate if the principal of the school approves. In addition to participating in the class during school hours, students can bring their families to the gym to shoot after school.

Shooting is always done indoors for safety reasons. The students in elementary and middle school all shoot from ten yards away from the target, the high school students shoot from fifteen feet away from the target. The bows are all the same, but Principal Vance says there are “left-eyed or left-handed” bows available for those whose left eye or hand is dominant and the bows can be adjusted depending on the strength necessary to pull the arrow back.

There are state and national competitions in the program and Principal Vance believes some of the students at BHCS have the talent to do well.

“There will be an actual state-level tournament on March 23 at the Charleston Civic Center. I believe some of our students have the ability to move up from there,” said Vance, “The national tournament is virtual, which means we score the competitors here and submit the scores online—there are too many participants to have an actual tournament. We are excited about our program and how the students have responded to it. The students not necessarily interested in sports like basketball or football are trying and loving archery.”

For more information about the National Archery in Schools Program, visit archeryintheschools.org

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