New England adds archery to its curriculum

Archery has been a growing trend among youth in the state of North Dakota over the past few years, and the interest is starting to spread to the schools of the state.

Archery 1 (RGB)

 

By COLE BENZ | HERALD EDITOR | cbenz@countrymedia.net

Archery has been a growing trend among youth in the state of North Dakota over the past few years, and the interest is starting to spread to the schools of the state.

For the first time this year, New England Public Schools offered an archery portion to their Physical Education curriculum.

Jodi Ryder, a PE teacher in New England, had been approached about instituting the sport into the gym program. Ryder said she had always been interested in adding archery, and after some conversations found a program that would allow it to happen.

The Game and Fish Department offer grants through the Archery In The Schools Program. It is a grant-matching program that allows the burden of purchasing equipment to be lightened.

Through the program, the school was able to purchase 100 arrows, 13 bows (three of which are left handed), five targets, a rack for storing the bows and a net that is hung behind the targets. Also included in the equipment are tools required for repairing the bows and arrows.

Ryder, along with two others, were required to go through training for certification. Through this training they learned both safety and technique.

The administration was behind Ryder from the start. According to Ryder they were “very on board” with the grant and the fund-matching process. As the sport is gaining popularity the administration thought it would be good to implement the activity in their school. Archery is currently a part of the PE program in grades 4-12.

“It’s a very up-and-coming thing, so the administration was very excited about this opportunity,” Ryder said.

So far the responses have been positive from the student body. Ryder has not heard any negativity towards the archery sessions.

“I haven’t heard one bad thing about it,” Ryder said.

She added that this is giving kids the opportunity to shoot archery if they have not had that chance outside of school.

Some are even surprising themselves with how good they are with a bow and arrow.

Though New England is one of the first schools in the area to add archery to the curriculum, it is not the first time kids in the county have had a chance to shoot some arrows.

Hettinger County Extension Agent Duaine Marxen has been running an after school Archery program in Mott this past year.

Marxen said the sport is definitely gaining popularity, and his own numbers show it.

When he arrived in Hettinger County in 2012 there were 42 kids in the Hettinger County 4-H. Now there are 78, and out of that number there are 48 enrolled in Archery.

Since the program has been instituted into the curriculum, Ryder can now hold archery competitions. Those competitions will allow participants to move on to regional and state tournaments.

Ryder said PE is not always about sports, “it’s about life skills.” Sports like bowling, golf and archery are all activities that one can do later in life.

“I wanted to be able to teach them something else that they could take and use in real life,” Ryder said.

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