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TPWD News Release — Jan. 20, 2009

Archery in the Schools Tournament Set for Feb. 27 in Waco

AUSTIN, Texas — The 4th Annual Texas-National Archery in the Schools Program (TASP) Tournament will take place Feb. 27 at the Waco Convention Center. Rising attendance at this yearly culminating event for participating Texas schools charts the program’s increasing popularity.

The first TASP tournament in Texas took place in February 2006, with 126 students representing 13 schools. The third annual championship last March drew 476 students, and attendance at this year’s tournament is expected to approach 700 students, teachers and parents.

Changing lives one arrow at a time

Since the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) came to Texas in September of 2004, organizers have trained more than 900 archery instructors at all three levels-Instructor, Trainer, and Specialist-including more than 400 classroom educators at 200 plus schools across Texas.

Since the national program’s inception in Kentucky seven years ago, it is now established in 46 states and four other countries. On May 8-9, 2009 the 8th annual national tournament will be held in Louisville, Kentucky. The 2008 NASP national tournament was the largest archery event in the history of North America, with 2,865 participants.

Last school-year across the nation, 866,000 school children in grades 4-12 received archery instruction from their teachers and an estimated 1 million will participate this year. This makes NASP the most successful youth archery program in history. The program expects to be operating in every U.S. state by the end of 2009.

NASP lessons are taught by physical education teachers with a focus on international-style target archery. The program teaches a lifetime skill in a controlled, safe environment. Universal fit NASP equipment is useable by all 4th — 12th grade children and teachers, and is durable, affordable and identical in appearance and function. In order to meet and enhance student learning and accountability standards, many schools integrate archery into core content areas such as math, science, and history.

NASP is intended for all students regardless of athletic ability or experience. Accommodations are routinely made for physically challenged students.

 "Although we just began the NASP this year, it has had a tremendous impact on our school district," said Brian Gray, school superintendent with Union Grove ISD based in Gladewater in northeast Texas. "The participation levels are through the roof and the program is allowing our staff to teach kids about how to be successful in life, while promoting a lifelong activity."

On Target for Life

NASP certified training is mandatory for all instructors. As states move to implement the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2002 ("No Child Left Behind") and engage more students in the learning process, education administrators will be trying to close achievement gaps among students of different racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. The creators of NASP intend for all students to be given an equal opportunity to learn, practice, and excel dependent on individual effort and practice. The NASP philosophy of standardized equipment, training, and implementation is intended to assure that there is "no child left behind."

Basic Archery Instructors (BAI) may attend a one-day training or those Instructors wishing for more advanced training may attend a three-day training workshop and become a Basic Archery Instructor Trainer (BAIT.) Advanced training is offered during the first two days of the workshop for participants familiar with archery fundamentals, range setup and coaching techniques. It is designed for those who want to train teachers statewide in the program. The third day focuses on basic level Instructor training specifically for teachers wanting to use the program within their school curricula-primarily physical education, agriculture science and outdoor education courses.

Toyota is the primary sponsor of TX-NASP and the program is part of the state’s hunter and bowhunter education efforts, programs that are supported from the sales of archery equipment through "Federal Assistance in Wildlife Restoration" efforts.

More information about the Texas program is available from Burnie Kessner, archery coordinator with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, at burnie.kessner@tpwd.texas.gov or (979) 862-7341. Information is also online on the TPWD Web site and on the National Archery in the Schools Program Web site.

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