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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado - USA Archery is proud and honored to present the USA Archery Junior Olympic Archery Development Award to Phil and Norah Hoelle of Smith Point JOAD. This award was established to recognize those instrumental in the promotion of USA Archery's Junior Olympic Archery Development Program. Nominations for this award are reviewed by the JOAD Committee for consideration.
According to the letter of nomination submitted by Smith Point JOAD, Phil Hoelle was a 4-time gold medal winner at the Empire State Games, holder of numerous Empire State Games records, and an alternate for the 1988 Olympic US Archery Team. In addition to a lifetime dedicated to competitive archery, Phil had a vision. He worked with Jeff Schneider and Ernie Simon at Smith Point Archery to create his dream: a youth archery program where he could share his love of the sport and the community it fosters. In 2010 the program became official and has had booming success.
When Phil passed away in November of 2011, his wife Norah grabbed the reigns and pursued his goal of creating a program where competitive success is not the main goal for every archer, but rather the main goal is to have fun. Whether a child or an adult wishes to pursue archery in a competitive environment, Smith Point JOAD prioritizes teaching the correct way to shoot so that they can enjoy the sport for as long as they choose, and even pass their new found passion onto their own families.
Joe Bellino shared his son Chris's story: "Chris needed to complete a merit badge in archery. Amongst a crowd of scouts flinging arrows, Phil took notice of my son and encouraged me to bring him back for lessons. Under Phil's guidance, my son grew to love the sport. We never looked back and are grateful for that fateful day.
"After a short couple of weeks [since Phil passed], Norah called and said she was taking over because she couldn't let Phil's dream die. The woman who just lost her husband and father of her teen children, Sean and Erin, jumped back in with both feet, never looking back� Phil and Norah selflessly gave my son the love of sport and competition and helped him to balance his life. We're eternally grateful. It's truly a family atmosphere where everyone is supported and respected."
Jim Czarnecky adds that Phil and Norah worked not only to help the young archers, but to help parents learn to help their children grow in the sport: "Thanks to Phil and Nora, parents also became willingly involved. Currently there are approximately 15 parents with Level 1 Instructor status and 3 with Level 2 Instructor status. Some of the older kids are also Level 1 Instructors."
A priority for Phil and Nora: working with young archers to instill important values: school comes first when there is a conflict with shooting, the young archers learn to help their competitors and teammates, to set up and break down the field, to fletch arrows and make strings, and become self-sufficient athletes and citizens.
Paul and Frank Baiata echoed similar appreciation: "My first and lasting impression of Phil and Norah is that they have been truly there to teach, inspire and share their love for competitive archery to anyone willing to hold the anchor point and concentrate on the arrow on the nock."
USA Archery extends its gratitude for Phil's lifetime of accomplishments in archery and his commitment to youth development, and to Norah for her continued commitment to Phil's legacy and her contributions to the growth of the sport.
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