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MILFORD, Mass. - Something special has been simmering within the State Archery Association of Massachusetts (SAAM) ever since the local, national and international communities were impacted by COVID-19.
SAAM has been a key organization in the development of archery events in New England, and the results have been real.
USA Archery recently touched base with the state association president, Mark Garriepy, to find out how the blending of new and experienced leadership has led to the expansion and growth of tournaments in and around Massachusetts.
“I think we are coming into a cycle which resulted from many of the closures we experienced during the pandemic,” shared Garriepy. “We are seeing a new generation of athletes who have found the sport since the pandemic who are now preparing to enter state championships and national events.”
While geographically located in a corner of the country, Massachusetts can be seen as a regional hub for USA Archery, with nearly 5,000 active members within an eight-state surrounding area (ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI, NJ, NY).
Long-standing partnerships and experienced event organizers helped to draw nearly 600 archers to the most recent Indoor and JOAD Nationals, held at Tantasqua Regional High School in Fiskdale. Through a partnership with the school and accomplished event host Lise Trahan, the event has been held in Fiskdale for over 10 years!
SAAM boasts 21 USA Archery clubs, many of which take on the challenges of running tournaments. The state assists event organizers in finding and hiring qualified judges for their events.
Other initiatives include purchasing and keeping stock of event equipment, and seeking out creative ways to “put smiles on athletes’ faces,” such as updating the sound system and creating a diverse playlist for events.
Behind the scenes, conversations also take place with surrounding states to ensure a cooperative event calendar, to maximize athlete participation at all events within the region.
The state is also taking steps to provide live scoring at future events, and a state rankings system is in place to provide a rolling state ranking. Other strategies employed by the organization include finding and training new volunteers.
“We find that by training and retaining the best volunteers, we can often have a moment of calm when the event is set up and ready to go, but before the athletes arrive,” added Garriepy.< Back to All News