Archery Targets Kids and Families

December 1, 2012, Department, by Elizabeth Beard

Cullman Archery Park in Cullman, Alabama.USA Archery, the national governing body for the Olympic sport of archery, works hand-in-hand with organizations like the Easton Foundations and the Archery Trade Association (ATA) to help bring archery programs to communities across the United States. One community that’s had great success in recent years is the Cullman Parks and Recreation Department in Cullman, Alabama. This city has introduced archery—one of the safest, most exciting, and now, most popular sports—to its community with great success.

Cullman’s community archery strategy began in 2006, when the Alabama Department of Conservation, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries turned to the state’s cities and towns to help bring archery and bowhunting programs into Alabama’s communities. With a grant from the Archery Trade Association, the Cullman Archery Park was completed, and programming began for the City of Cullman in 2008.

The same year, Cullman’s Parks and Recreation Department introduced Explore Bowhunting, a program of the ATA, and implemented Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) and the After School Archery Program (ASAP) in 2009. Currently, approximately 200 different archers are engaged in Cullman’s various programs, including ASAP, JOAD, and adult archery clubs.

“We’re pleased with the success of our archery program,” explains John Hunt of the Cullman Parks and Recreation Department. “Archery gives a family time to be together; it’s nothing to see a whole family shooting together. Archery is also an activity for all ages. We are also glad to be meeting the needs of children who [may] not play other sports.”

Hunt also notes that USA Archery, Bowhunters of Alabama, and the local Van’s Outdoor Retail shop helped to provide additional assistance to complement the significant support that Cullman received from the Archery Trade Association.

“Think about partnering with others,” Hunt advises. In fact, by working together with other partners in the community, the Cullman Parks and Recreation Department was able to host a national archery event, bringing a $4 million positive economic impact to the community.

Through their partnership with NRPA, the Easton Foundations (www.esdf.org) has provided communities with “Discover Archery “grants to be used for archery equipment, instructor training, and range development. For more information and a list of the Discover Archery grantees, visit www.nrpa.org/archery.

USA Archery offers several programming options that introduce people to the fun and excitement of this safe, lifelong sport. For example, ASAP is a great option for park and recreation departments and other organizations seeking short-term, introductory archery programming that covers range safety and basic shooting skills.

Communities that would like a longer-term, progressive archery program are encouraged to start a JOAD club. Geared toward archers ages 8 through 20, JOAD offers young people the opportunity to earn achievement awards for success and the chance to learn about and participate in competitions. An excellent fit for park and recreation departments, JOAD provides all archers with the chance to shoot recreationally or to gain confidence with local and national competition opportunities.

USA Archery, with the help of the Easton Foundations, offers equipment grants to JOAD clubs as well as assistance with starting a club. USA Archery also administers the Adult Archery Achievement program, similar to JOAD but geared toward adults, and facilitates archery instructor certifications. For more information, contact USA Archery at 719.866.4576, email joad@usarchery.org, or visitwww.usarchery.org.