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One of the best things about Explore Archery is that it gives schools, camps, retail stores and other organizations the flexibility to customize an archery program that fits their needs. We talked with Thomas Kelly, who oversees the Explore Archery program at Grandville Archery Club in Michigan. Here's what he shared:
Please tell us about your program.
The name of our program is the Grandville Archery Club. We are located in Grandville, Michigan and our range is at "Whistlestop Park" in Byron Center, Michigan. We are a cooperative venture between the Grandville Public Schools and the Byron Township Recreation Department. We are a USA Archery "Explore Archery" program.
Over the past year we have had approximately 350 archers in our program.
How did you get your start?
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources runs a one-week "Academy of Natural Resources" under the direction of Kevin Frailey in northern Michigan. At this time a gentleman by the name of Mark Copeland of Jay's Sporting Goods was offering instruction in becoming a certified National Archery in the Schools Program instructor. Mark Copeland had me hooked with the exciting activities he brought out during the week. He also mentioned a book of activities that USA Archery was coming out with - the current Explore Archery program - and to look for it in the near future. Next was John Stover of USA Archery, who provided me with additional skills to become a Level 2 instructor.
Why did you choose Explore Archery?
We chose Explore Archery because it is safe, fun, and flexible in meeting the needs of the Grandville and Byron Center, Michigan communities. Our goal is to provide a safe and fun introduction to archery that is convenient for parents and their children. We are fortunate to have many archery facilities and instructors in West Michigan, but they require commuting time for busy families. We wanted a facility in our own "backyard" that was not more than a 15-20 minute drive away for parents.
How has Explore Archery integrated into your other archery programming?
We have successfully used Explore Archery with over 300 fifth and sixth graders during our school camping program. In fact, our students rate archery as one of their favorite activities. Also, because of our success using Explore Archery programming, we have provided Level 1 Instructor training to Camp Pinewood operated by the Metropolitan Chicago YMCA and the Battle Creek Public Schools Outdoor Education Center.
Which Explore Archery activities do your archers - and instructors - enjoy most?
The number one activity that our archers have enjoyed has been the balloon shoot.
As an Instructor, I like the variety of archery activities that meet the needs of our young archers. There are many activities to choose from. The photographs and illustrations are a great resource to use with community recreational planners to have them visualize what safe archery looks like and to show them how easy it is to set up a range using a minimal amount of space.
What specifically do you like about the Try Archery and 5-Day Camp formats?
We like the flexibility. The hints on managing instruction and keeping it fun are very helpful. Also, we really like the detailed instructional activities that help archers to focus on the specific skills needed to be successful in developing their shot sequence.
Interested in starting an Explore Archery program? It's quick and easy, and we also have a convenient online shop for your program's needs. Need a next step for your Explore Archery graduates? Start a Junior Olympic Archery Development club.
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