Oklahoma Archery in Schools Program Offers Grant Money
A program offering competitive archery to students has found its way into at least 75 schools in Oklahoma, and coordinators of the program say available grant money could make it easy for other schools to join up as well.
The program, coordinated by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, is called Oklahoma Archery in Schools (OAIS) and is part of a national program that partners state wildlife agencies, schools and the nation's archery industry to introduce students to the sport of archery. The program curriculum is designed for 4th-12th graders and covers archery history, safety, techniques, equipment, mental concentration and self-improvement.
"Teachers and students alike have many great things to say about the program," said Lance Meek, OAIS coordinator for the Wildlife Department. "It's a lot of fun, and teachers are reporting increased attendance, better attitudes and academic improvements."
And thanks to a recent grant made available through the Federal Wildlife Restoration Program, more than $50,000 is available for schools to acquire all the equipment, curriculum and training necessary to begin an OAIS http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/archeryinschools.htm program in their communities at little or no cost.
"We've worked out a deal where, after applying the grant money and a reduction in cost provided by the archery industry, schools can get $5,000 worth of equipment for $1,300," Meek said. "That includes bows, arrows, targets, safety nets, and almost everything else needed to run the program."
About 6,500 Oklahoma students participated in the program last year, 400 of which attended the OAIS state tournament held at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. Students have the opportunity to win bows, arrows, bow cases, trophies and medals through the program as well.
"This is a great program because students of almost all sizes and physical abilities can excel," Meek said.
In order to be eligible for a grant, the school must send a couple of teachers to an eight-hour workshop where they will learn to how to conduct the program at their school and instruct students in archery.
Teachers interested in learning more about the OAIS program or in starting an OAIS program at their school should contact Meek at (405) 522-4572.