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“I’m so excited that I’ve learned to shoot archery,” said Erin, an eighth-grade student. “My dad hunts with a bow and arrow. It would be so cool to go hunting with him!”
A new program starts, students seize opportunities
“The improvement these students have shown in their shooting is phenomenal,” said Aaron, one of St. Joseph’s archery instructors. “One of our seventh-grade girls, in fact, beat us instructors in a contest one day she shot 47 out of 50.”
Both houseparents at St. Joseph’s, archery instructors Aaron and Chris understand the importance of introducing students to hobbies that can last a lifetime.
“Not everybody wants to play basketball,” said Chris. “Archery is something you can do no matter what level of athletic ability you have, no matter your height or build.”
More than a dozen girls and boys in sixth, seventh and eighth grade actively participate in St. Joseph’s Archery Club.
With instructors Chris and Aaron, club members held a shooting demonstration to show younger students and staff members the steps they go through to set up each shot and talked about the safety rules that are strictly followed at each club meeting and shoot.
“My dad and grandpa taught me about archery when I was growing up,” said Chris. “I loved learning from them and am excited to share this great sport with the Lakota (Sioux) students I’m working with now. Their enthusiasm to show others the skills they’ve learned and use archery to help build other relationships is the icing on the cake for me.”
A National Program with International Reach
The National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) was launched in 2002, but is new to St. Joseph’s recreation program this spring. Working with South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, Chris and Aaron received their safety certification for instructors through the national program, which then allowed St. Joseph’s Indian School to obtain a grant to purchase equipment and launch this exciting program.
Archery competitions are held all over the world, including in the Olympic Games. The core content of NASP is designed to teach International style target archery, and also covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration, core strengthening physical fitness and self-improvement.