The NASP archery program in schools introduces kids to the world of archery. It was a hit and still growing in schools all over the state. But, what happens when the children graduate from the NASP program? Well, the Archery Trade Association (ATA) has come up with a new program.
The Archery Trade Association is the organization for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, sales representatives and others working in the archery and bow hunting industry. They were heavily involved with introducing and promoting the Community Archery Parks which Alabama currently has 7 built and 2 more in the works.
The ATA is workng together with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Fisheries for implementing this program in Alabama. The ATA and Alabama Division of Wildlife and Fisheries hosted an Explore Bowhunting workshop for teachers, instructors, retailers and anyone else who was interested in learning more about the program. So what is “Explore Bowhunting?
Explore Bowhunting is an educational program designed to help instructors, program leaders and educators teach students 11-17 years old the basic skills of bow hunting. The ATA created the program to spark an interest and passion for bow hunting in today’s youth. It’s a great next step to further the passion kids gain through school and other shooting programs. Through these hands-on experiences students gain confidence interacting with the natural environment and strengthen their appreciation for wildlife and the woods.
Kids were first introduced to archery through school archery programs and other introductory shooting programs such as NASP, and then take advantage of that interest with Explore Bowhunting It’s a tool used to get kids excited about bow hunting, the outdoors and wildlife. It’s a great way to help them bridge the gap between recreational shooting and bow hunting. If they are just introduced to shooting, it’s certainly a positive step, but it leaves them hanging halfway, so to speak. Explore Bow hunting, bridges that gap and helps them learn how to bow hunt small and big game animals.
Explore Bowhunting has been implemented in eight states across the nation and offers participants the opportunity to learn about bow hunting. And for some retailers, the Explore Bowhunting program has been coupled with increased sales.
In Alabama, for instance, archery equipment sales jumped 83 percent for one ATA member-retailer in Cullman, AL, one year after ATA worked with city administrators and the state’s wildlife agency to open a community archery park near an archery shop. And just last year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a resolution that federal excise tax money can be used to fund Explore Bowhunting through the Pitman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act.
Explore Bowhunting Is
- An outdoor education program for educators working with student’s ages 11 to 17.
- A curriculum that can be used from start to finish to teach students basic bow hunting skills.
- An activity guide with individual lessons to teach specific concepts.
- A method to teach students problem-solving and decision-making skills.
- Appropriate to be taught by formal (school teachers) or informal (outdoor educators, Scout leaders, camp counselors and others) educators.
- An innovative and interactive program designed to introduce kids to the fun, excitement and challenge of using archery equipment to hunt wildlife.
So what does this have to do with BHA? BHA could attempt to develop a youth program on it’s own….But why waste time and resources when the wheel has already been developed and it has been working great in many states. BHA objective is to become involved with the Explore Bowhunting program. Volunteers are needed to become instructors and help teach young adults the art of bow hunting. The program and materials are already prepared and in place. Now we just need passionate people who love bow hunting and want to help others to EXPLORE this world.
The ATA developed Explore Bowhunting for state wildlife agencies and other groups to use. The trade organization, not only plans to give Explore Bowhunting to states, but also provide the resources required to implement it. Groups which adopt the curriculum can name it whatever they’d like. The ATA’s hope is that it will have a broad reach by being implemented as after-school programs, in-school programs or part of recreational programs.