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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Explore Archery, a new program of USA Archery designed to deliver fun to new archers, has been getting young people excited about thesport across the country.
Robert Jellison, an instructor from Hartland Middle School in Michigan, explained that he helped develop the program and is now using it with great success: "[we] worked on many new, innovative ideas to grab kids' attention and to keep the fun in archery. I love how everyone can participate regardless of their athletic ability. I like how archery breaks down the cliques, and how ALL of the kids become a family/team."
Explore Archery was written with community programs in mind, and provides a completely turnkey option for those looking to introduce archery programming in their areas. Perfect for camps, park and recreation departments, 4-H, scouting, schools and retail stores, Explore Archery makes starting a program simple. Instructors can purchase a full program curriculum - including games and activities - and archers gain confidence by earning awards for skills learned.
"They just love to shoot," explains Jellison. "They like to practice, shoot for score, shoot competitions and [try] fun shoots. The kids in our program are here to stay, [and] they will shoot archery for the rest of their lives."
Lystra Pitts of Wasting Arrows Archery in Nevada echoes Jellison's thoughts about Explore Archery: "We set up our camp through the Washoe County Community Education Program. We started with three weeks of camp, ten students per week. The camps filled up so fast that we had to add weeks and increase the number of students per camp to accommodate the demand."
When asked what students seemed to enjoy most about Explore Archery, Pitts cited the variety: "They aren't just shooting circles all day. We keep them hopping with new activities and challenges, and they're never bored. They also LOVE the [achievement awards]. We award one for each day of the camp. We [even] had a student move her birthday party so she wouldn't miss out on the award!"
Both Jellison and Pitts noted that the games and activities help to hold archers' focus. "The focus continues to be on improving their form," Pitts notes. "Each activity refocuses the students and keeps them working on the fundamentals and shooting steps. The parents come in at the end of the day and are shocked by how well they are shooting."
Next step opportunities are built into the Explore Archery program, including Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) and opportunities to try archery tournaments. Explore Archery is also proving to be a successful feeder program, generating more interest in those next step options by giving archers a solid beginner foundation.
Archers can now find Explore Archery in 27 different states; click here to find a program near you. To learn how simple it is to start an Explore Archery program, click here. You can also check out a sample of the Explore Archery Instructors' Guide and learn more about Achievement Awards.
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