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Media Contact: Burnie Kessner, 979-862-7341 or burnie.kessner@tpwd.texas.gov

July 23, 2007

TPWD Archery in the Schools Program Offers Instructor Training in August

The Texas Archery in the Schools Program (TASP) will offer Basic Archery Instructor training at several locations in August. An October training also is scheduled.

TASP is the Texas State affiliate of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) adopted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Sponsor organizations include Texas Field Archery Association, Texas Hunter Education Instructor Association, Toyota and Dallas Safari Club.

The program’s focus is to provide Olympic-style target archery training in elementary through high school physical education classes. The program is designed to introduce target archery to students during a two-week physical education course.

Archery is a life sport that circumvents traditional barriers to engage students of all genders and physical abilities, even facilitating participation and competition in students with disabilities. The ability of archery and the TASP to engage this broad spectrum of students has led to rapid growth and acceptance of the program, as well as expansion to after school clubs and inter-school competition. Schools participating in TASP have experienced a number of favorable spin-off benefits as well, including reduced behavior problems and improved school attendance.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department adopted the program in September 2004 and hosted the first training in Austin at a school adjacent to the TPWD headquarters complex. A total of 16 participants were trained as Basic Archery Instructor Trainers and the program was officially kicked off in February 2006.

Started in Kentucky, and in only its fifth year nationally, the program is now in 45 states, Canada, Australia, and growing. National and regional competitions have been held recognizing top schools and individuals, but the program is geared towards teaching youngsters in skills that involve discipline, focus and precision.

"What's great about archery is that everyone can participate and excel at the sport,” said Roy Grimes, the national director who helped developed the program. “Those inclined to go on and compete can do so; those that simply want to have fun can be involved, too."

Ronnie Gill, an Abilene area archer that lives in Buffalo Gap near Abilene, completed the training and is able to train teachers and coaches in the Abilene region. He and his wife, Diane, are long-time archers, and Ronnie was already a Level II National Archery Association trainer before gaining his TASP certification.

“We’ve needed this program a long time.” Gill said. “I get asked all the time if I can teach archery in a teacher’s physical education class or at a summer camp. TASP, supported by all the top archery industries and organizations, is the tool we need to deliver an effective program locally — one that meets national and statewide goals and curricula.”

Basic Archery Instructors (BAI) may attend a one-day training or those Instructors wishing for more advanced training may attend a three-day training workshop and become a Basic Archery Instructor Trainer (BAIT.) Advanced training is offered during the first two days of the workshop for participants familiar with archery fundamentals, range setup and coaching techniques. It is designed for those who want to train teachers statewide in the program. The third day focuses on basic level training specifically for teachers wanting to use the program within their school curricula — primarily physical education, agriculture science and outdoor education courses.

As a popular Olympic sport, archery has enjoyed a renewed interest, especially among school children.

"The program is really taking off, and it shows that youngsters have an interest in archery as an integral sport taught in gym classes across the United States," said Olympic Gold Medalist Rod White. "Everyone can compete, everyone can be successful, and everyone can have fun learning how to shoot with bow and arrow."

“A lot of kids that we might not capture in traditional team sports whole-heartedly came out for the archery team, said Wimberley coach Val Jeter. “It’s a good motivation for their grades, behavior.”

The archery course can be set up in a school gymnasium in a safe, easy fashion, and the equipment is available at reduced rates to teachers. TPWD and its partners will provide assistance to schools in acquiring equipment. Other non-school organizations trained in TASP that come on-board will be able to purchase the basic sets at the reduced rates directly from the manufacturers sponsoring the program at the national level.

The first Texas state tournament was held in February 2006 with 126 students representing 13 schools. The second annual tournament in February 2007 grew to 398 students representing 43 schools statewide.

For more information about the program, call Burnie Kessner, archery coordinator, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (979) 862-7341 or email him at burnie.kessner@tpwd.texas.gov.

TASP is part of the state's hunter and bow hunter education efforts; programs that are supported from the sales of archery equipment through the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service "Federal Assistance in Wildlife Restoration" efforts.

Upcoming Archery Instructor Trainings:

* Correction, July 30, 2007: This date has been revised. Aug. 8 is the correct date. (Return to corrected item.)

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2007-07-23


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