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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado - USA Archery interviewed Joshua Gold of Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (FYCCN) to talk about their incredible use of USA Archery's Explore Archery Program.
Gold explained that FYCCN "works with public and private partners throughout Florida to get youth involved in traditional outdoor activities," including a focus on archery. "Since FYCCN started in 2010 we have been helping partners with programming and equipment to get youth outdoors and participating in these traditional activities."
Gold continued: "FYCCN's archery training began with the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) through our Hunter Safety Division. As we grew we realized that most of our partners do not fall under the category for NASP training and started our training with USA Archery. Six of our staff were trained as USA Archery Level 2 instructors in 2013."
"Since then we have trained over 175 USA Archery Level 1 instructors throughout Florida," Gold added. "These instructors have returned to their sites to teach archery programming. Their sites include parks and recreation departments, summer camps, FWC run camps and facilities, Boy and Girl Scouts, YMCA's, 4H's, and more."
To further enhance archery programming throughout the state, Gold integrated Explore Archery into camps: "The camp had already been using curriculums from USA Archery, ATA's Explore Bowhunting Program, and Florida's Hunter Safety Course. Explore Archery was a great fit and the kids really enjoyed it. We have continued to use it at the Joe Budd Youth Conservation Center and expanded it into other FWC Youth Conservation Centers throughout the state."
Gold said that his students' favorite part of the Explore Archery program is "The hands on shooting activities. It gets them practicing specific skills without knowing it, and having fun. An instructor can introduce a new skill and then reinforce it by using some of the Explore Archery activities. Used during a longer-term program, the medals and skill rewards are a great motivator for kids to want to practice and improve. The shooting activities break up the normal practice and get them excited again."
For other people looking to either start Explore Archery programs or integrate them into other community programs, Gold says: "Do it! It is easy to integrate into existing programs and is a great way to start a new program. It is a great way to enhance a community archery event or add to any camp. We have received a lot of help from USA Archery and the organization is always helpful and easy to work with."
He also added: "For FYCCN partners interested in Florida we have purchased the Explore Archery curriculum books through a grant and will provide them to partners at no cost if they register with USA Archery. We have a limited number of books but are trying to offset the startup costs of archery programs so more youth can be involved in the sport."
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