School archery program hits the bullseye on attendance and test scores
COLUMBIA - The Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program (MoNASP) is celebrating 10 years of archery, increasing test scores and raising attendance rates into Missouri schools. MoNASP began in 2007 and is modeled after the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), which began in Kentucky in 2002.
The program is designed to teach 4th-12th grade students international-style archery. Eric Edwards, the Education Outreach Coordinator for the state of Missouri, said archery has a way of incorporating every student.
"A lot of the kids that get into this program and start competing, they're part of a team for the first time probably in their lives. They may not be on the basketball or volleyball teams, but they're part of the archery team," said Edwards.
Angie Roberds, the health educator at Gentry Middle School said she has seen a "tremendous" impact on her students.
"For a student to be eligible to actually participate in after school activities they have to attend school during school hours, and I have noticed that some kids who might have been spotty with their attendance record, they are there every single day that there is an archery practice," Roberds said.
The NASP evaluated students’ likeliness and attitude to attend school before and after participating in archery. According to the NASP Evaluation, there is a positive impact on students’ willingness to attend school, get good grades and stay out of trouble.
"These kids really enjoy this sport, and it just takes some individual with the love and passion of archery to grab this and go," said Roberds.
In Columbia, students have the option to participate in a 2-week curriculum option or a tournament competitive option. Gentry Middle School and Battle High School are the only schools in Columbia that offer the tournament option. "We're up to 621 schools now in the state of Missouri that participate in NASP, as part of their in-school curriculum." said Edwards. "It's about 185,000 students in the state of Missouri this year that will take archery as a part of their in-school curriculum."
Mid-Missouri currently has more than 75 schools that participate in MoNASP.
"I was one of those kids that probably was not the best student, but I went to school because of the extracurricular activities honestly and I know how important these types of things can be to kids, to keep them motivated to stay in school and to do well in school," said Edwards.
MoNASP also offers a refund program as an incentive to schools willing to incorporate archery. The state will provide a $1500 rebate to schools for equipment. However, instructors must complete basic archery training. If schools continue MoNASP for five years, they may also be eligible for $500 grants designed for equipment maintenance.
Edwards said he's seeing archery take off outside of primary schools. At the last state tournament, "We had Bethel University out of the state of Tennessee that was there, and they had three kids sign letter of intent to go shoot on their archery team. They received $20,000 scholarships to go shoot archery," Edwards said
Missouri gives away three scholarships to its top male and female archers.
For more information on how to bring archery to your school visit The Missouri Department of Conversation.
The Missouri Department of Conservation in Columbia is home to MoNASP's headquarters.