Community Archery Programming Provides Training for the Next Generation of Archers

Community Archery Programming Provides Training for the Next Generation of Archers

AUSTIN — Hunting season throughout Texas is already in full swing but Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Community Archery Program aims to help future hunters prepare for next season or find a hobby with archery sports. Adaptive and accessible to most any audience, the program helps to facilitate the spread of archery skills to those hoping to bring home a meal of wild game, competitive archers and even target shooters who simply enjoy the social and health benefits that the sport has to offer.

“The benefits of archery can include everything from increased focus, improved problem-solving skills, patience and fitness,” said Rob Owen, an Outreach and Recruitment Manager with TPWD. “Our programs make use of gear designed for beginners, from youth to adult.”

The Community Archery Program works on a “train the trainer” model, training teachers and leaders through a USA Archery curriculum in range set-up, safety, program design and coaching. The curriculum is built for community groups like military bases, veteran’s groups, scouts, camps, parks and recreation departments and more. It also provides resources and certification to host a mobile archery range with an audience.

“The range can become a Junior Olympic Archery Development club (JOAD), used for outreach and recruitment, or simply an evening of family fun or camp recreation,” Owen said.

Explore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing programming introduces the skills of bowhunting and bowfishing to new audiences through activities and discussion. TPWD hosts training that provides instructors a set of activities that expands beyond safety and into the skills needed to be a proficient hunter. The programming covers aspects of camouflage, scent control, shot placement, gear, tracking and more.

“The Explore Bowhunting program includes outlines for a leader to host hands on activities that lower the barrier to entry to hunting sports,” Owen said. “This type of training helps to ensure a familiarity with, and understanding of, essentials hunting skills. Many new hunters are lacking these if they do not have a mentor to help with what is often learned through years of practice. Archery hunting also opens the doors to thousands more acres of public hunting land that is otherwise inaccessible to firearm hunters.”

In addition to these programs, TPWD assists in archery instruction for trainers to host programs like the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP®) in Texas schools and its faith-based equivalent, Centershot Ministries Program.

NASP is designed for school-aged audiences in grades 4-12. Texas NASP builds Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum concepts, from Physical Education to the Sciences, into archery. TPWD offers the applicable Basic Archery Instructor (BAI) training for coaches that facilitate the program with their students. The annual statewide tournament is in Belton each March. Tournament winners receive scholarships and invitations to national tournaments and potentially “Open Tournaments” attended by worldwide participants.

Centershot Ministries offers a similar model for communities of faith and utilizes the same BAI training for the program’s local hosts.

To learn more about these programs and how organizations can get involved with TPWD Community Archery, visit the TPWD website.