Author: Cassie Scott
How do five people make a big difference nationally? Partnerships.
The Archery Trade Association’s five-member outreach and education team leverages ATA partnerships with state agencies, nongovernmental organizations and other groups to grow archery nationwide.
“Our team is small, so it’s unrealistic to think we can reach the entire nation on our own,” said Jennifer Mazur, ATA’s senior director of outreach and education. “We partner with other organizations to expand our reach.”
These strategic agreements mutually benefit the ATA and its partners by pooling their skills, money, resources and knowledge to recruit, retain and reactivate archers and bowhunters. Depending on the situation, ATA partners receive staff support, financial assistance, educational programs and other resources from the ATA. The ATA, meanwhile, gains support and access to new markets, resources and consumers. These partnerships help the ATA’s outreach team multiply its efforts to make archery relevant and meaningful in communities.
Let’s learn more about some specific ATA partnerships.
USA Archery offers Explore Archery classes as well as an array of tournaments for all skill levels. Photo Credit: ATA
USA Archery is the national governing body for Olympic archery. It fosters strong athlete participation, competition and training. With 22,000 members and 21,000 instructors and coaches, USA Archery helps educators teach archery to beginners and provide them a foundation to excel.
The ATA, along with Easton Foundations, helped USA Archery create a self-sufficient, sustainable outreach program in 2011. The collaboration increased archery participation, revamped Level 1 and Level 2 instructor-certification courses, and created Explore Archery, an educational program that introduces beginners of all ages and abilities to this lifelong sport.
USA Archery’s outreach team certifies instructors and introduces communities and state park associations to programs like Explore Archery. The ATA outreach team then approaches the communities to teach archery academies and offer Explore Bowhunting, Explore Bowfishing and S3DA certification as next-step programs.
Mary Emmons, chief of sport performance at USA Archery, oversees USA Archery’s outreach team. She considers the effort a success, saying: “USA Archery’s partnership with the ATA increased our ability to improve the accessibility and visibility of the sport at the community level. It provided next-step program opportunities for not only target archery, but also bowhunting and bowfishing to help advance R3 efforts.”
National Field Archery Association
The NFAA is a nonprofit corporation with 49 chartered state associations and nearly 1,000 affiliated clubs, making it the world’s largest field-archery organization. It promotes many shooting styles, offers a full slate of age divisions, and hosts hundreds of indoor and outdoor tournaments annually, including the 3 Star Tour.
As with the USA Archery partnership, the ATA helps this nongovernmental organization build an outreach team to increase club and tournament participation. The NFAA team better serves its members and helps make archery more accessible.
The NFAA also protects bowhunting, and improves and increases participation while offering educational programs on conservation and wildlife management. These efforts make NFAA a natural fit for running ATA’s Explore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing programs in the future. The NFAA is also creating an awards program for Explore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing participants.
In a recent article about the partnership, Brittany Salonen, NFAA’s event and marketing director, said the knowledge and experience of ATA staff in outreach and program development is invaluable.
If your child is showing interest in archery, get them started early. Photo Credit: S3DA
Scholastic 3-D Archery
The S3DA program is available in more than 30 states, making it one of the country’s fastest-growing youth-archery programs. This after-school initiative teaches students from ages 8 to 18 about 3-D shooting, bowhunting ethics, and indoor and outdoor target archery. S3DA is an ideal ATA partner because it bridges the gap between beginner and next-step programs.
“Our partnership with ATA enables us to connect all facets of archery, and pull the archery and conservation communities together to focus on one common goal,” said Jennie Richardson, S3DA’s executive director. “Enabling the youth of our nation to enjoy a lifetime in archery and conservation will create an entirely new generation of outdoorsmen and women.”
The ATA’s S3DA partnership also gives clubs access to Explore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing. Coaches can integrate the “Explore” programs into their club’s curriculum to diversify participants’ interests by linking 3-D archery to bowhunting and bowfishing.
The ATA is also helping S3DA staff hire people for its outreach team. In addition, Mazur represents the ATA on the S3DA Board of Directors. The ATA previously funded S3DA’s presence on Sport 80, a data-management and event-registration provider. Because NFAA and USA Archery use Sport 80, many participants know the system, which makes registering for S3DA events easier.
Visit your State and Wildlife Agency's website to see what opportunities are offered near you. Photo Credit: ATA
State Wildlife Agencies
The ATA works in some way with most state fish and wildlife agencies. The ATA creates and provides resources for state agencies to help them recruit, retain and reactivate archers and bowhunters.
For example, wildlife agencies can …
– Use the ATA’s Explore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing programs to teach basic skills to participants.
– Use the ATA’s Archery Park Guide to build a range or community archery park.
– Reference the ATA’s Deer Protection Program to craft regulations for using urine-based animal scents for hunting.
– Get help creating marketing brochures and materials to attract participants.
– Work with ATA staff to identify and revise bowhunting regulations that hamper participation.
When state agencies use ATA resources, they typically engage more people in archery, which benefits their state and the archery industry.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, for example, piloted the ATA’s Explore Bowhunting program in 2011. Since then it launched Explore Bowhunting in 422 schools. It also launched Explore Bowfishing in 350 schools, and built three community archery parks. Those efforts helped boost Oklahoma’s resident youth archery licenses from 3,643 in 2009 to 6,489 in 2016. Oklahoma’s ATA-member retailers benefited from that influx. In response, the ATA awarded the ODWC with its first R3 Partnership Award.
“We’re big on partnerships at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation,” said Colin Berg, the ODWC’s education section supervisor. “The ATA is one of our great partners. Without the ATA’s support, the Explore programs wouldn’t be where they are today.”
Oklahoma’s success shows the power of ATA partnerships. ATA staff also facilitate connections between state agencies and other archery-focused groups to boost participation.
The ATA also partners with World Archery, the Salvation Army Outdoors, the Izaak Walton League of America, and many others. View ATA’s full list of partners here.
Contact Jennifer Mazur if you have questions about ATA’s outreach and education efforts. Also watch for Part 3 of this series, which discusses how the ATA’s outreach team works with communities and others outside the industry to educate them about archery.