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Origins: National Archery in the Schools

History and Growth

The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP®) was launched in twenty-one Kentucky middle schools on March 3, 2002. Since that date, forty states and Australia have adopted the program and are presenting target archery lessons to students in grades 4-12 in nearly 3,000 schools. During the school year 2006-07, state NASP® coordinators expect 667,000 students to take the 2-week long NASP® archery lessons from their Physical Education teacher. By the end of 2007 it is expected that schools in all 50 states will have adopted the program. Most Canadian provinces have also inquired about starting the program, as have people in 15 other countries, including South Africa, England, Spain, and Mexico.

There are examples of nearly every type of school currently in the archery program. Most of the schools in the program are public elementary, middle, and high schools. However, parochial, disciplinary, and special education schools are presenting NASP®-style archery classes. In West Virginia, Kentucky, and Australia schools for the deaf have adopted the program because archery is truly an activity that every child can excel in. In Kentucky, 580 of the state’s 1275 schools have adopted the program. Ten other states have more than 100 schools in the program and are growing larger every day.

In March of 2006, the 4th annual NASP® National Tournament was conducted indoors in Louisville, Kentucky. A total of 2,164 student archers participated in the single day event—the largest student archery tournament in North American history. Participating on the archery teams were typical and atypical athletes, boys, girls, minorities, special education students, and children with physical disabilities. Some of the physically challenged youth were confined to wheelchairs, walkers or had to have the aid of a sighted person to “see” the target.

The NASP® has exceeded every objective and dream its founders envisioned. The program was expected to be in 120 Kentucky schools by 2005—it was in 120 Kentucky schools by 2003. It was hoped the program might be picked up by 25 states by 2008 – on February 19, 2007 South Dakota will become the 42nd state to adopt the program. It was never imagined that the program would attract interest from international citizens but Australia started the program in June, 2006. Australia’s NASP® is a cooperative venture between the Victoria police department, the school system, and the parks and recreation department and already has several corporate sponsors.


Principles of NASP®

  • NASP® is taught during school
  • NASP® teaches target archery
  • NASP® lessons are presented by NASP-trained teachers
  • NASP® equipment is identical from student to student
  • NASP® coordination should be provided by the wildlife or education department


Development History

The program began in Kentucky with the training of 39 educators in March 2002.

2002 Pilot Program Survey: 1,600 students were surveyed at the conclusion of their 2-week target archery class

Before the Course (55% boys and 45% girls):

  • 72% did not own a bow
  • 62% had never shot a bow


After the Course:

  • 89% enjoyed archery
  • 45% wanted to own archery equipment
  • 59% wanted to become target archers
  • 38% want to try bowhunting

November 2005 Survey by Responsive Management: 50 schools from among KY’s 315 participating were selected. Archery student graduates were surveyed.

  • 94% said they enjoyed archery
  • 61% felt better about themselves after taking archery
  • 49% liked their school better because archery was taught
  • 66% liked PE class better with archery being taught
  • 72% reported they liked archery letting them work more closely with their teacher
  • 22% bought archery tackle after taking the class

Current Status

  • More than 700 schools in Kentucky are in the program.
  • 2003 NASP® KY Championship attracted 651 student archers.
  • 1,577 4th-12th grade students competed in the 5th annual NASP® National Tournament on June 8, 2007.
  • 49 states and 16 countries have inquired about the program. Countries include; Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Iraq, Japan, Spain, Finland, Morocco, and Barbados.
  • 42 States, Australia, and Nova Scotia, Canada have implemented the program.

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