Virginia DGIF Hosts First Annual Archery in Schools Tournament

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The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is conducting the First Annual National Archery in the Schools Program Tournament on February 28, 2009, at the Augusta Expoland in Fishersville, Virginia. The tournament is being held in cooperation with the Western Virginia Sport Show which will be held at the same location from February 27-March 1, 2009. This is the first year students teams will compete in the same location. Last year, VDGIF held a statewide "virtual" tournament.

This tournament is the "culminating event" for Virginia schools participating in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). Last year, more than 90,000 Virginia students at more than 160 schools participated. Right now, NASP-certified schools across Virginia are selecting their student archers to make up their teams. The program is coordinated by the VDGIF Outdoor Education staff. According to Outdoor Education Supervisor Karen Holson, "Currently, we have 150 students registered and can accommodate more. Schools will be able to register until January 30."

The National Archery in the Schools Program promotes student education and participation in archery. The program's focus is designed to teach International Archery style target archery in 4th through 12th grades as part of the in-school curriculum. NASP's core content covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration, and self-improvement. The students shoot at bulls-eye targets placed in front of an arrow resistant net in their gymnasium or outside. Before presenting archery instruction to their students at school, teachers must undergo an 8-hour instructor certification training program referred to as BAI, Basic Archery Instructor. Certification is conducted by VDGIF Outdoor Education staff and VDGIF-certified volunteers.

During the NASP Tournament, teams of 16 to 24 students will compete in either the Elementary (4th -6th grade), Middle (7th-8th grade) or High School (9th-12th grade) Divisions. Flights are scheduled for 9 am, 12 noon and 3 pm. An Awards ceremony will follow the Overall Champion Shoot-off at the conclusion of the 3 pm flight. Team and Individual awards will be presented. Winning teams and individuals will be eligible to compete in the national tournament in Kentucky in May.

NASP started in Kentucky in 2002, and is spreading throughout the United States. Virginia started NASP in 2006, and currently Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries staff and volunteers have trained over 200 schools, and 530 teachers in the Commonwealth. VDGIF has provided and assigned NASP equipment sets to over 165 schools in Virginia. Teachers report that students are excited about learning archery skills and that young people who have not typically been involved in school and team sports are active in archery.

NASP is a joint venture between state departments of Education and Wildlife. Several archery equipment manufacturers and conservation organizations are also partners. The equipment used for NASP is state-of-the art and designed to fit every student, of all ages and all abilities.

The National Archery in the Schools Program brings the sport of archery to millions of students in schools across the United States. NASP positively influences student attendance, behavior, self esteem, confidence and on task behaviors.

For more information and to get your school and teachers involved in NASP, contact VDGIF Outdoor Education Supervisor and Virginia State NASP Coordinator Karen Holson at 804-367-6355 or Karen.Holson@dgif.virginia.gov. For more information about NASP visit the Department's website at www.dgif.virginia.gov/events/virginia-nasp-tournament.