Students at DeKalb West School have a new subject in their physical education classes this year - archery.
The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) teaches international-style target archery in physical education classes. It's available for students in grades 4-8 at DeKalb West School.
Students at DeKalb Middle School may soon have the same opportunity.
The course, taught by Coach Ricky Hendrix at DWS, covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, concentration, core strengthening, physical fitness and self-improvement. Before presenting the archery course to students, Hendrix had to undergo a rigorous eight-hour NASP training to become a certified archery instructor.
Although students are not required to take archery, DWS Principal Sabrina Farler said most students want to participate. "A year ago we let the (school) board know that we had an opportunity from the TWRA to get a $1,000 grant for an archery program. DWS paid the remaining approximately $1,500 to cover the cost. Coach Hendrix had to attend an eight hour training before he could start teaching the classes. He is now introducing it to all DWS 4th-8th graders and the kids are so excited," she said.
Farler said DWS was made aware of the program by TWRA officer Tony Cross. "Really, my and Officer Joe Fortner's involvement was just to help the school systems get set up in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). Both DeKalb West School and DeKalb Middle School last year were able to purchase archery set-up kits to get the program started in the schools. Right now at DeKalb Middle School we're still waiting to get PE instructors certified to be able to teach it at DMS," said Officer Cross.
NASP is a joint venture between state departments of Education and Wildlife. Several archery equipment manufacturers and organizations are also partners. The program promotes student education, physical education and participation in the lifelong sport of Archery. The program’s focus is to provide International Style Target Archery training in physical education classes. "There are hundreds of schools across the state and thousands of schools nationwide involved in this program. It's really a great program. It's not just geared for hunters. There's a lot of kids that maybe this is the first time they've ever picked up a bow. It's actually a compound bow that they shoot which is set up for beginning archers. But it's not just about shooting a bow and arrow. It teaches a lot of different things from discipline, responsibility, and respect for others," said Officer Cross.
The archery course, which normally runs from two to eight weeks, is designed to teach International Style target archery in 4th–12th grades. The students shoot at bulls-eye targets placed in front of an arrow resistant net in their gymnasium. The core content covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration, core strengthening, physical fitness and self improvement which is necessary in order to participate in and enjoy the sport of archery as a lifetime activity. The safety and instructional guidelines were adopted from the National Archery Association (NAA) and the National Field Archery Association (NFAA).
Equipment to get started:
Bows* (Original Genesis) 12 - (10 right / 2 left)
2 boxes of arrows (10 dozen)
1 Arrow Curtain
1 Equipment repair kit*
1 set of Safety rules and posters*
Arrow quivers 12 (made by the school)
Whistle (one is included in the BAI materials)
Blue painter’s tape (purchased by the school)
Clearly defined shooting range (in gym)
Coach Hendrix will be teaching archery during PE classes from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. or from 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. each day for a few weeks, according to Principal Farler.