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December 27, 2010

JOAD - Recapping 2010

As we bring the year to a close, and focus on the opportunities which lie ahead, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the progress that the Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) program has made during the past year. Many new initiatives were implemented, helping JOAD to grow and become more effective as a national program. In 2010, JOAD achieved a 63 percent increase in club memberships nationwide, a sure sign that our continued efforts, such as reaching out to 4-H, Parks and Recreation, and other youth groups, are successful. We participated in two Archery Academies hosted by the Archery Trade Association (ATA), which brought Parks and Recreation professionals together with archery instructors and representatives of various programs, in an effort to give them the tools they need to introduce archery within their own communities. As with other events attended in 2010, JOAD was well received, and so we continue to work on building a stronger and better program to benefit JOAD clubs and athletes.

2010 opened with changes to age classifications, increasing age eligibility in the cadet and junior divisions. This resulted in many juniors having the opportunity to compete in both JOAD National Indoor Championships and the Easton JOAD National Championships, including some who had previously "aged out" of JOAD. Overall, feedback on the age changes was positive, with many archers, parents and coaches noting that it allowed archers time for a more gradual progression to their longer distances, which typically require larger bow weight increases (for example, male cadet archers having to transition from shooting 70 meters to 90 meters as juniors). 

As the year began, we also tried something new with the JOAD Mail-In Tournament. With age changes going into effect, the JOAD Committee chose to run two Mail-In events, one late in 2009 and the other in early 2010. This gave many JOAD participants the opportunity to compete in both old and new age categories, and also extended the fun and excitement of this annual event. All of the proceeds supported the Ann Hoyt Legacy Fund. The 2010-2011 Mail-In Tournaments are currently in progress.

This year, we also developed a new JOAD brochure to aid us in promoting the JOAD program nationwide. The brochure was also designed to help USA Archery clubs to promote their own JOAD programs, with a space designed into each brochure for clubs to place a sticker with their own contact information. USA Archery also announced the further development of two programs: the JOAD Xperience (formerly the USA Archery Camp Program) and Adult Archery Achievement. We continue to work on developing and improving these two programs, which promise to play an important role in the development of new archers, and sustaining interest in archery as the archer moves from JOAD into the senior and masters divisions.

USA Archery members and clubs also began receiving the JOAD Newsletter. Produced bimonthly and distributed electronically, the JOAD Newsletter offers our readership the opportunity to catch up on news that affects them, as well as highlighting the accomplishments and growth of JOAD athletes and clubs. If you're interested in having your club featured in a future edition, or would like to share what's working for your JOAD program, please email joad@usarchery.org.

We had great success with the JOAD national events this year, including record participation at JOAD National Indoor Championships (February-March) and a very successful Easton JOAD National Championships in Des Moines, IA in July. Over 230 archers vied for the title of JOAD Grand Champion, enjoying the excitement of a single-distance qualification round followed by team and individual eliminations. In 2011, Easton JOAD Nationals will head to Sacramento, CA, which promises to be a fun and exciting event!

In addition to Easton JOAD National Championships, those cadets and juniors seeking placement on the 2011 Junior United States Archery Team (Jr. USAT) also had the opportunity to compete at several different USAT Qualifier Series events in 2010, and the top five cadets and juniors in each category were named to the Junior USAT in November. With several exciting events ahead for 2011, including the USAT Qualifier Series and Junior World Championships Team Trials, it promises to be a great competition season.

This year, we also renewed our focus on providing support and education to member athletes and clubs by offering member clubs the ability to purchase JOAD award pins and lanyards at bulk pricing. We also re-introduced JOAD camps, which offer archers the opportunity to develop their shooting technique, network with other archers, and work with some of the nation's top coaches. Camps were offered this year in Arizona, Michigan and Florida; for 2011, we are considering locations such as the Easton Foundations Archery Center in Newberry, FL; the MSU-Demmer Facility in Lansing, MI, and a facility in Manassas, VA.

In many ways, coaching is the cornerstone of our JOAD program. As noted recently by USA Archery Coach Development Manager Sheri Rhodes, "At the heart of any archer's success is a coach or instructor who motivated or inspired them." In 2010, JOAD clubs and archers across the country submitted nominations for three USA Archery Coach of the Year awards: National, Developmental and Volunteer. The award winners for 2010 were National Coach of the Year Mel Nichols, of Glendale, AZ, nominated by the Arizona State Archery Association; Volunteer Coach of the Year Jim Coombe, of Mason, OH, nominated by Cincinnati Junior Olympians JOAD; and Teresa Johnson of Woodstock, CT, nominated by Hall's Arrow JOAD. Nominations for the 2011 Coach of the Year award can be submitted at any time by clicking here.

Last but certainly not least, the JOAD Committee, which assists with the oversight and governance of the JOAD program, elected two new Regional Coordinators late this year: Doug Ludwig, representing the East Region, and Dee Falks, representing the South Region. These new members replace Cindy Bevilacqua and Tony O'Brien respectively, to whom USA Archery extends its thanks for their years of volunteered time and service to the JOAD program. The next meeting of the JOAD Committee is set for February 14-15, and I invite you to contact me or your regional or athlete representative with any feedback, concerns or suggestions you may have.

As we look toward an exciting year ahead, I would like to thank each of you for your interest and involvement in the JOAD program, and for those not yet involved with JOAD, I invite you to take action! Start a club - it's easy - volunteer with your existing club, or if you're an adult or a youth archer, join a club and start shooting! Again, please contact me for more information on how you can get involved. I look forward to meeting all of you at our upcoming JOAD and USA Archery events, and wish you a healthy, happy and successful New Year.

Diane Watson, JOAD Coordinator

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