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April 01, 2021

Explore Archery Program Spotlight: Town of Chapel Hill

In November 2019, USA Archery partnered with the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association (NCRPA) to support the expansion of target archery programming in parks and recreation departments statewide through the Explore Archery grant program. In an effort to grow archery at the community level, USA Archery helped secure generous grant donations of $80,000 from the Archery Trade Association and Easton Foundations. Selected applicants from across the state came together for instructor certification training and were supplied equipment to get programs started in their local communities.

Last Fall USA Archery shared an update on the program in Almance County, NC and we are excited to now spotlight the Town of Chapel Hill, and Recreation Specialist Keith Dodson and Adventure Program Specialist Chandler Musson.

After receiving the grant in late 2019, the Town of Chapel Hill started their archery program in July 2020 and to date, has had over 300 archers patriciate in various archery programs.

Dodson credits the way archery programs are structured for allowing programming to continue, and even grow during COVID-19. Accommodations to ensure social distancing and a feeling of safety for archers includes:

  • 6 archers per session for 3-4 sessions, which totals 18-24 participants during the Explore Archery Programs in one day
  • Archers may bring their own equipment, or the department will provide the archer with a bow and arrows (six per session), and archers are assigned their own target
  • Participants shoot in two lines: A and B and then retrieve arrows in the same two lines
  • Participants wait six feet apart between shooting lines

As we move towards summer, the Chapel Hill Explore Archery program is excited to see continued expansion with the addition of being able to offer programming at their outdoor range.

On students finding success with Explore Archery, Dodson says the key is: “giving the participants a taste of archery and having them come back for more, either for skill development with the clubs or for fun with the Explore Archery programs.”

Chapel Hill has also seen demand for next-step programs grow as a result of offering Explore Archery. They have a club program for archers above 10 years old and have seen multiple students buy their own equipment after going through Explore Archery; at least 20 archers have purchased target archery equipment to further their development.

The department also has many innovative program offerings including what they believe to be the first “Light Up the Target” event on the East Coast, which is glow in the dark archery. Other special archery events have included:

  • Turkey Shoot in November where the winner received a free turkey
  • Sweet Heart Shoot date night where hearts and balloons with heart confetti were included
  • Partnering with the art department for “ART-chery” where students made creepy zombie heads in art class and then put a balloon with red paint in it to shoot at the archery range and splatter over their artwork for a Halloween activity

The department has a YouTube page with programming information and are also on Instagram  and Facebook.

Learn more about starting an Explore Archery Program today. Please contact [email protected] if you would like to highlight your Explore Archery program in our next newsletter!

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