ATA Insight Newsletter >> ATA Headlines
|May 4, 2009|
Features include "Park Opening Reveals Grassroots Enthusiasm for Archery," "ATA Show Update: Nearly 100,000 Square Feet of Booth Space Sold So Far" and "Hotel Block Open to ATA Members for 2010 Trade Show."
INSIGHT NEWSLETTER- MAY 2009
Park Opening Reveals Grassroots Enthusiasm for Archery
Check out some of Alabama's post event coverage
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The $285,000 project, a collaborative effort between the City of Cullman, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (ADWFF) and the Archery Trade Association (ATA), will also act as a show piece for states across the country that are interested in providing similar archery and bowhunting participation opportunities through local archery parks or shooting facilities and introductory archery programs such as the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) and the After School Archery Program (ASAP).
"The Cullman Community Archery Park is the second of six Alabama archery facilities now completed or under way," said Ray Metzler, hunter education coordinator for Alabama's state wildlife agency. "We're grateful for funding provided by both the City of Cullman and the Archery Trade Association, but I think the real story here is the community people who have embraced this park and the pride folks show in having this valuable asset. They've endorse what we're doing in a number of ways from buying targets for the range, starting an archery club and even taking off work to set up and prepare for this grand opening event."
The Cullman Community Archery Program had received $52,000 from the ATA before ATA President/CEO Jay McAninch committed an additional $50,000 at the ribbon cutting ceremony to build a pavilion, including bathroom facilities, on the archery park. The contribution was made possible thanks to a recent $200,000 gift from the Easton Sports Development Foundation - a group who supports the development of archery as a mainstream sport - to fund Community Archery Programs through the ATA.
"I wish everybody could be here and see this," McAninch said, pointing out a sign that listed local high schools who contributed signage and other structural pieces to the range. "You can see why we do this. Yes, it's our expectation to make archery and bowhunting available in communities just as little league baseball or soccer is, but it's also about all the pieces of a community coming together to make the park a possibility and archery a real piece of the area's recreational menu."
Cullman High School Carpentry Department, Good Hope High School FFA and Fairview High School each contributed to the range by building signage, benches and target frames. Meanwhile, students from Hanceville Middle School attended the grand opening and initiated the range as each student had an opportunity to shoot and test the new targets. Members of the newly formed Heritage Archery Club, a Cullman-area bowhunters group and local chapter of the Bowhunters of Alabama, also attended the event. Shane Cupp, the man credited with organizing the club, spent time prepping the site for its grand opening.
"We formed the club in August," said Cupp. "The interest in archery in our county has been getting larger over the last several years. So, with the park in the works, it just made since to start the club. Plus the organized group gives area bowhunters a sense of community."
Already, the archery club has donated $6,000 in Delta targets for 3-D tournaments set to take place at the park. The group was formed as soon as work on the Cullman Archery Park began in 2008 and, within a week, it became the state's third largest chapter.
"I took off work early today so I could come out here and see the park officially open," said Steve Mann, an employee at Hired-Hand, an Alabama-based manufacturing company. "It's going to be great to come out here and practice, get outside and hone my hunting skills."
The Cullman archery park features 36 targets, including an eight-target beginner's range from 5 to 20 yards; an eight-target general target range of 15 to 50 yards; a four-target bowhunting range of 10 to 40 yards with a 12-foot platform; and a 16-target walking course with shots out to 70 yards.
The first such state-of-the-art archery park opened in 2008 in Athens, about 50 miles from Cullman. Meanwhile, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries is building archery parks in Dothan and Demopolis, and will soon break ground in Heflin. The state is also negotiating for an archery park in Huntsville.
"With the park opening today and the efforts made to introduce more kids to archery and bowhunting, I think the momentum of these projects is evidence in the follow-through," said Jerry Wydner, an ATA member and vice president of Hunter Safety System, a company that manufactures safety harnesses and other hunting apparel and accessories. "People can say a lot of things, but when those from the state agency, the ATA and the community show up and roll up their sleeves, you can see the excitement. It's motivating and it motives me."
In all, the ATA has provided Alabama's state wildlife agency more than $100,000 in grants and equipment to grow archery and expand bowhunting opportunities in the state. In 2008, 147 Alabama schools participated in NASP and, as a result of CAP in Athens, Ala., 15 new schools were added to NASP.
"Community archery programs start with NASP as a key introduction to archery but then include after-school and recreational archery programs as well as the critical shooting facilities all archers need in order to enjoy shooting year round," said Michelle Doerr, the ATA's director of archery and bowhunting programs.
Doerr doesn't necessarily endorse the cliché, "if you build it, they will come." Instead, she describes a four-pronged approach, alluding to each providing equal support like four legs on a kitchen table. One leg represents your archery facility, a second is NASP, a third is making archery available in community recreation programs through ASAP and the fourth leg is a supporting role provided by local archery shops, clubs and organizations. The glue that holds all these legs together is for state and local government support of the facilities and archery programs.
Since 2004, the ATA has provided funding totaling approximately $884,000- including grants provided through CAP - to initiate NASP in the United States, Canada and Australia. It has also contributed nearly $960,000 in CAP grants, equipment and direct aid to state wildlife agencies to grow archery and expand bowhunting opportunities.
ATA Show Update: Nearly 100,000 Square Feet of Booth Space Sold So Far
The first 160 companies to select their booths for the 2010 ATA Trade Show in Columbus, Ohio, have already locked up 99,700 square feet of space, or 62 percent of the available room, according to Cindy Brophy, ATA Trade Show manager.
As of late April, Brophy estimated she was 35 percent of the way through the list of exhibitors with preference points for next year's show. She began working with exhibitors April 13 on their booth selections. "Companies in the first group tend to be larger exhibitors with deep roots in the Trade Show, so they usually lock up a fair amount of space when they make their selections," Brophy said. "Their mood is upbeat and no one has dropped out. They're reserving about the same size booths as they did last year."
Brophy expects to get through the entire list of companies with preference points by May 21. Only companies with six or more preference points receive an appointment to select a booth. The ATA then opens booth selections to new exhibitors and those with no preference points. She encourages all exhibitors to go to the ATA's Web site (www.archerytrade.org/tradeshow10/exhibitors.html) and click on the interactive floor plan to keep abreast of remaining space.
"It helps to have several options in mind when it's time to select," Brophy said. New exhibitors are welcome to call the ATA office to reserve booth space after May 21
Hotel Block Open to ATA Members for 2010 Trade Show
The ATA's hotel reservations fill up quickly, so book now to ensure you get your favorite hotel. To process your reservation, you'll need your ATA member code. The ATA faxed, e-mailed and/or mailed hotel-reservation codes to all current and renewing members in late April. If you haven't received your code, or you want to learn more about the 13 hotels in the ATA black and their locations, visit www.archerytrade.org/tradeshow10/hotel.html. Then download the hotel choices and log into your ATA account for your member code.
Remember, reservations in the ATA hotel block are open only to members who have renewed for the 2009/2010 year. If you have not renewed, please call Laura Shields at 866-266-2776, ext. 201, or visit www.archerytrade.org and click the "Trade Show" tab for more information. The ATA Hotel Block opens to nonmembers Oct. 1.
Shuttle service to and from the Columbus airport, and daily to the Columbus Convention Center, will be posted on the ATA's Web site as soon as it's available.
ATA Members Reminded to Renew Now
ATA members are reminded that their memberships for the 2008-09 fiscal year expired March 31, and it's time to renew for the 2009-2010 business year, which began April 1.
ATA memberships hit a record high in 2008-09 at 1,909, up 13 percent from 2007-08. The previous high was 1,759 members in 2006-07.
The ATA member dues were due before April. Notices were sent in March. If you are a member who has not renewed, please be on the lookout for a second renewal reminder mailed on May 1 and renew your membership. Members who don't renew by May 15 will receive a termination notice soon after.
Easton Sports Development Foundation Donates $200,000 to Grow Archery and Bowhunting
The $200,000 gift was presented at the ATA's board of directors meeting in Minneapolis, Minn., April 21-22.
"We understand the importance of not only introducing our sport to others, but also expanding participation opportunities for archery," said Greg Easton, a director of the Easton Foundations and president of Easton Technical Products, Inc. Mr. Easton also serves on the ATA Board as vice chair. "The ATA has been effective in developing community-based programs to grow archery and the support from the Easton Foundation will help to expand these efforts."
The goal of ESDF is to promote the sport of archery and develop Olympic hopefuls at a grassroots level and continue these efforts through college and university programs. The organization is also a catalyst in the development of archery as a mainstream sport and promotes growth at the state, regional and national level.
"Through generous funding from groups like the Easton Sports Development Foundation, we believe we can build archery shooting facilities and archery programs that are very much a part of communities around the country," said Michelle Doerr, the ATA's director of archery and bowhunting programs.
Thanks in part to the ATA's concept of Community Archery Programs (CAP) and support from groups like ESDF, the ATA expects archery facilities to open in East Lansing, Mich. and Juneau, Alaska this summer. In both areas, the ATA has also worked with state agency to fund and initiate introductory archery programs in the immediate area around the facilities. These on-the-ground archery success stories will showcase how archery can be incorporated into all aspects of the community - schools, recreation programs and facilities. Then, through strong partnerships, resources are combined in collaborative efforts.
The Community Archery Program promotes NASP as a key introduction to archery in schools, works to make archery available in local community recreation programs and funds the shooting facilities all archers need to participate in shooting year round. Since 2004, the ATA has provided funding totaling approximately $884,000- including grants provided through CAP - to initiate the National Archery in the Schools program in the United States, Canada and Australia. It has also contributed nearly $960,000 in Community Archery Program grants, equipment and direct aid to state wildlife agencies to grow archery and expand bowhunting opportunities.
Newly Designed Web Site to Launch This Summer
With a redesigned Web site in the works and many improved features set to launch, here's a quick preview of 6 things you can count on.
Web Quick Facts: 6 archerytrade.org Improvements
1. Robust Information. In the past, the ATA hasn't used its Web site as its central source of information. Look for this to change, once the new site is launched. While the trade show will still have a strong online presence, the ATA will provide information on all of its programs including the latest news on its community archery program and Explore Bowhunting along with more comprehensive membership information. Expect brief snippets of text with lots of hyperlinks.
2. Visuals and Balance. Overall, the new design uses much more imagery, which is often action-centered and powerful. The imagery achieves a much higher quality than what is now on the ATA's site, making the site's first impression more engaging and professional. The layout of the homepage and secondary pages are organized so it's easy for readers to find key messages. The site optimizes space while avoiding creative chaos.
3. Simpler Navigation. While the current ATA Web site offers seven options on its main menu and features a utility menu that competes with the site's main menu for visibility, the redesigned site will feature a single, horizontal main menu with six options. The new main menu does a better job of streamlining ATA's news, programs, events and member information. Therefore, upon entering the site, users can make their initial choice quicker and easier. For example, the ATA's annual Summit meeting and its trade show will be housed under the "Event" option on the main menu. However, when the trade show is in the spotlight and attracting its highest volume of users for information and event registration, the trade show will be featured on the homepage in a flexible promo box. The flexible box, integrated cleanly throughout the site's pages and the homepage imagery, will allow timely emphasis on ATA efforts and projects.
4. ArcherySearch Integration. ArcherySearch.com, the ATA's search and display site, will be integrated into archerytrade.org. The search area will be rebranded as "Explore Archery and Bowhunting," while the ATA will maintain the url, archerysearch.com, which will link to the new search area. This allows for cross-marketing so users who visit archerytrade.org will also see our member directory and search engine. Meanwhile, end-users who visit "Explore Archery and Bowhunting" will be exposed to the ATA and its efforts to grow archery and bowhunting activities. The ATA is also cleaning up the data that supports ArcherySearch so the listings are current and accurate.
5. Clean and open homepage. The new homepage will not require a vertical scroll. The page is visually dominant, with little text outside of the menu and promo boxes. The design follows the trend of limiting homepage text and emphasizing stronger imagery to hook the user visually while getting them into the site as quickly as possible. This homepage design is made possible by the increase in high-speed internet users and the ability to download larger images faster. The concept resembles a magazine cover with its copy/imagery balance, but it's also different because it involves high-quality interaction and animation.
6. In your own backyard. By featuring an interactive U.S. map, the ATA's revamped site will provide state pages to offer local news and information to ATA members. These pages will roll-out after the initial launch.
ATA Members Discuss Hunting Survey with Michigan DNR
Top researchers from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources met with several ATA members April 8 to discuss how the agency uses hunter surveys to assess how rule changes affect bowhunters and deer hunting participation.
The meeting was part of the ATA's continuing efforts to strengthen relationships between state and federal wildlife agencies and the archery/bowhunting industry. Since 2007 the ATA has worked to revitalize the industry/agency partnership, a working relationship that launched many of the nation's conservation programs 75 years ago. Our country's system of wildlife management is imbedded in federal-excise-tax (FET) funding that's paid by outdoors industries under the Pittman-Robertson, Dingell-Johnson and Wallop-Breaux acts.
"This meeting confirmed for our members how committed the Michigan DNR is to sharing its staff's expertise with the state's ATA members," said Mitch King, the ATA's director of government affairs. "The DNR's top survey people spent 90 minutes giving us the run-down on their program and how they obtain scientifically valid information with a random sample of the state's hunters and bowhunters. ATA members were very engaged in the discussions."
King said the dozen or so ATA members wanted to learn how recent rule changes to expand crossbow use might expand participation during this fall's archery season, and how restrictions on deer baiting might affect participation rates. Such meetings allow ATA members to ask questions and exchange information in a cooperative, non-confrontational way. "We conduct these meeting to strengthen a partnership, not to be an adversary," King said.
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