6.2.10 | Massachusetts Students to Benefit from ATA Grant
NEW ULM, MINN. - Hundreds of students from ten schools in Massachusetts will have a new target to shoot for when classes resume next fall.
Thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Archery Trade Association (ATA) to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFW), students in those schools will have the opportunity to participate in archery as part of the regular curriculum. The ATA works with state agencies to promote archery in both schools and communities through grants for programs, equipment and facilities.
Currently, 47 of the 50 states have adopted National Archery in the Schools Programs (NASP) and the ATA has helped fund 42 of those, along with four provinces and Australia. Total ATA funding for NASP implementation now stands at $667,000.
Michelle Doerr, ATA director of archery and bowhunting programs, said student interest to try archery as an alternative to other sports less appealing to them is "definitely out there. Sometimes, however, the opportunity is lacking. Providing seed money through these grants is often all it takes to jump-start an archery program and have it flourish," Doerr said.
The MDFW worked with the Massachusetts State Department of Education to promote the NASP opportunity to school districts. Thirty-five school districts showed an interest, 10 were selected as pilot schools.
"They are a mix of rural, urban, small and large schools from across the state," said Tom O'Shea, MDFW assistant director of wildlife. "Students from the elementary through high school level will be eligible to participate. We're optimistic that we'll be able to add additional schools as word spreads and more funding becomes available."
Members of the Massachusetts Sportsmen's Council and Massachusetts Bowhunters Association have expressed support for the pilot program. O'Shea will meet with the Massachusetts Sportsmen's Council in June to explain the program and discuss how their organizations and members can become involved.
O'Shea said the ATA grant offers the opportunity to "nurture the self-development of our young people and the potential pursuit of a life-long activity through the sport of archery. That, in turn, will hopefully plant the seed for their future connection to our outdoor heritage and conservation," O'Shea said.
In addition to working with wildlife agencies to make archery available in schools, the ATA also works through wildlife agencies to help local communities establish archery facilities and programs.
"School and community programs and facilities feed off one another," Doerr said. "Once you create interest in archery through school programs, it really helps to have a good community facility nearby where archers can continue to practice and compete outside the school day. That combination keeps young people excited and involved in the sport."
Since 2004 the ATA has pledged approximately $2 million to help bring archery and bowhunting programs and shooting facilities to schools and communities throughout the United States. The primary source of funding for the ATA is its' annual Trade Show. Proceeds from the show are invested back into archery and bowhunting programs nationwide to keep the archery momentum going.
Did You Know?
Whenever possible, the ATA provides information, assistance and technical support to individual bowhunters and bowhunting groups who request help in any situation.