Every day there seems to be a new article on the growing interest in archery among youth and women. As someone who came into learning archery and bowhunting as an adult, it’s nice to see that I am not alone in my desire to learn this new skill at a later stage.
It is also great to see that it also appeals to younger generations. My six-year-old daughter is one of them and I know others have young children or nieces and nephews that are also interested in learning how to shoot a bow and arrow.
According to the Archery Trade Association, there are 18.9 million Americans age 18 and older who participated in archery and/or bowhunting in 2012. Additionally, 4 million women were involved in archery and the number of youth and women is expected to continue to grow.
The cool thing is that archery is now an activity that many schools across the nation embrace and support. The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) was originally created in partnership with Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources and Department of Education along with Mathews, Inc. as a way to focus on outdoor skills that would inspire kids to spend time outside.
According to the NASP website, officials with the Fish & Wildlife department felt that target shooting skills would “result in character and self-reliance development” that would further lead into wildlife conservation and environmental stewardship. The first year had 120 schools enrolled and after that first year, the program expanded to include neighboring states. NASP also has expanded its participation standards to include students in grades 4-12.
Regardless of the reason behind the development of such a program, the benefit for those kids and instructors involved is priceless. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors can help ease depression, improve mood and help with overall focus. Getting kids away from the screen (smart phones, internet, etc.) and into the outdoors is something that we can all agree is important.
Enrolling in a school archery program also promotes camaraderie and learning archery builds upon confidence and focus. For me, it is also incredibly meditative and can act as a stress reliever after a long day. My daughter and I like to spend afternoons shooting arrows together, which allows us to spend mother-daughter time working on a unique skill that is both engaging and enjoyable.
Now, with the snow finally melting enough to cause my road to look like this, it’s almost time to move our targets outside for the spring and summer!
Are You New to Bowhunting? Check out my “Beginner’s Guide to Archery: For Women” DVD available at HERE.