In the past eight years, archery has been introduced in 250 Oklahoma schools and approximately 7,000 students – elementary, middle and high schools – and taught in physical education classes through the program administered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
What started with just eight pilot schools, the popularity of “Archery in the Schools” has grown to the point where five regional tournaments were held for the first time this year to serve as qualifiers for the state tournament.
There are now 7,000 students across Oklahoma competing in Olympic-style archery.
Every public or private school I have ever interviewed about the archery program has raved about it. And they all say about the same things about it.
It gets kids involved in a sport who are not the most athletically gifted. You don’t have to be the quickest or the biggest to compete and everyone gets to participate.
For many students, it’s the best thing they like about physical education classes.
It improves their confidence and self-esteem as it designed for success. Kids are more motivated in the classroom because they are motivated by archery.
Several teachers said they noticed improvement in grades and less absences because kids liked and wanted to compete in the archery tournaments.
The Wildlife Department provides training and certifies school instructors to teach archery and helps pay for equipment.
Groups like the Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club-International and the National Wild Turkey Federation also have donated money for the cause.
Schools have to pay half of the costs . Some do so through the general fund but others have fund raisers, such as bake sales, car washes, etc., to help pay for equipment.
Other schools are lucky enough to get corporate sponsors to pay their share.
Archery in the Schools has been one the more successful programs the Wildlife Department has ever introduced.
As one p.e. teacher told me, anything that develops self-esteem in kids, gets them to come to school and do their classwork, is a good thing.