Plans Underway to Begin Archery in Schools Program This Fall in Auburn Public Schools
The target date to start the Archery in the Schools Program in the Auburn Public Schools (APS) is the fall of 2013, said Kent Volkmer of Auburn. Volkmer presented information on the program to the APS Board of Education last month.
“It gives the kids another opportunity to try something else. Some kids can’t run. It will be done a couple of weeks at a time, from middle through high school. It will be taught in physical education. It gives the kids something to do if they don’t want to do other sports. It’s a way to get them away from the computers and doing other activities, preferably outside,” Volkmer said.
He said he started working on interesting school officials in archery in December. Volkmer said he talked to the school board members, gave them information and they decided to go ahead with implementing archery.
“It’s not costing the school anything to set it up. We received sponsors to cover the $500 cost of the five-year program,” Volkmer said.
“I’m happy that our school board supported the program. I also had support from the principal (Vernon Golladay), Superintendent (Kevin Reiman) and director of school improvement and curriculum (Nancy Fuller). They were supportive in implementing it,” he said.
“I’m thrilled we’re going to get it going in the school. I’ve talked to some parents who said their kids were interested and might be getting into archery,” Volkmer said.
The district’s three physical education teachers will attend training for the program. One teacher, Holly Rieschick, has previous experience with archery. Volkmer said Nebraska Game and Parks Commission officials will bring all equipment, such as bows, arrows, backstop and targets and instruct the teachers how to conduct the program safely. He said he has talked to some 4-H leaders to see if they would help. It is hoped to have some 4-H leaders attend the training class to observe and learn what is being done and try to get an area club established, he said.
There are more than 100 Nebraska schools with archery. Other Southeast Nebraska schools include Falls City, Nebraska City and Syracuse. Volkmer said his next target is Johnson-Brock. He said he works on establishing programs in schools during the winter, when he has the time.
One Nebraskan who went through the program participated in the Olympics last year. There are several archery tournaments in Nebraska. Volkmer said some youth got involved in archery while attending college, and their father joined them in participating in an archery shoot in the Odell area.
Volkmer said archery is a safe activity, with only a minimal possibility of injury.
Archery is also a lifetime activity. The success of “The Hunger Games” book trilogy and the release of the first movie in 2012 caused a 50 percent increase in archery participation, he said.
“The kids watched it and are getting into it. Several states noticed a huge increase in archery participation, especially among girls,” Volkmer said.
It is hoped also to get 4-H’ers involved in archery, including having clinics and having more 4-H’ers show up for the county fair archery shoot, Volkmer said.
Information from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission website indicated more than 21,000 Nebraska students participate in a National Archery in the Schools Program course in math, history or physical education class.
The program’s many benefits include: 50/50 gender participation, enhanced self-esteem of participants, enhanced enjoyment of the physical education class, everyone can participate-including physically impaired or disabled, students learn respect and patience, enhanced motor skills and developing self-confidence, improved attendance and decreased dropout numbers.