Estherville Lincoln Central Board of Education members Monday heard about a new activity that's hitting the bull's-eye for a lot of kids.
Emmet County naturalist Jenna Pollock told the board about the archery-in-the-schools program for students in grades 3-12. Pollock said funding came from an Iowa Department of Natural Resources grant for equipment, including 11 bows, five targets and five dozen arrows.
Pollock said she and Emmet County Conservation Board director Eric Anderson went through archery instructor training geared to getting kids ready for tournaments.
Emmet County naturalist Jenna Pollock told the Estherville Lincoln Central Board of Education Monday night about the archery-in-the-schools program.
Photo by Michael Tidemann
It was an overwhelming success from the start. Pollock said 91 kids showed up at a parent-student meeting with 116 at the first practice in the old armory on the Emmet County Fairgrounds.
The first day, students learned general safety. There were 24 competing in a fun shoot in Spencer in January. Pollock said signup sheets for the program will go around again this November.
Pollock said the National Archery in the School Program (NASP) makes students accountable in that they're encouraged to bring their homework to practices. And they do just that, by working on reading assignments as they wait to shoot.
Pollock said the program seems to be doing a lot for students' self-esteem as well.
"It is a non-discriminatory type of sport," said Pollock.
Students must use the bow and arrows provided.
"It helps keep them on a level playing field," said Pollock.
Pollock said she's looking at a second grant application on behalf of the ELC PE department. "Our chances of getting a grant are pretty good."
Participating schools have to have two certified tournaments to qualify for state competition, and Pollock said Chris Amdahl placed sixth in the state and will go on to compete at nationals in Louisville, Ky. in May. Pollock hopes to continue offering archery events through the summer. Tournaments must be school-related to be certified.
The program is a zero buy-in for students who bear none of the cost, said Pollock.
In a question-and-answer session that followed, Pollock said there are currently two coaches but that a half dozen adults have indicated interest in coaching. The instructor-training course is free for teachers. She also sees kids helping each other a lot during practice.
The season runs from December through March with nationals in May and world competition in July.
Pollock said a package including Genesis compound bow with case, six arrows, arm guard and quiver costs $250.