Archery 101

By Dick Mason, The Observer December 20, 2013 07:21 am

Island City Elementary School teacher Darren Hendrickson explains the workings of a compound bow to his fifth-grade class Wednesday. (PHIL BULLOCK/WesCom News Service)
Island City Elementary School teacher Darren Hendrickson explains the workings of a compound bow to his fifth-grade class Wednesday. (PHIL BULLOCK/WesCom News Service)

Physical education to include the art of archery for fourth- and fifth-graders 

ISLAND CITY —  La Grande School District fourth- and fifth- grade physical education students will soon be learning a little about physics and a lot about one of the world’s most popular sports.

Archery will soon be added to the district’s fourth- and fifth-grade physical education curriculum. 

“We are really excited about it,’’ said Darren Hendrickson, a fifth-grade teacher at Island City Elementary who is helping start the program. 

Archery will first be taught to fourth- and fifth-graders at Island City Elementary this spring. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, the sport will also be taught at Central and Greenwood elementary schools for fourth- and fifth-graders. All of the archery sessions will be conducted in the gyms of the elementary schools. One-month sessions will be conducted for students in the fall and spring.  

 The children will be taught using compound bows. These are bows which have a leverage system of cables and pulleys. The leverage system makes it easy to pull back the draw string of the bow to get power. Students will be taught about how the laws of physics make this possible while being shown how to develop archery skills.  

Archery sessions will be taught based on the National Archery in the Schools Program’s curriculum. The program’s curriculum promotes academic  education, physical education and lifelong participation in archery. Since its inception a little more than a decade ago in Kentucky, 9.4 million students in 9,000 school districts in 46 states  have participated in NASP.

A total of 2.1 million children received archery instruction via the NASP in 2012.

“Last year more children participated in it than Little League,’’ Hendrickson said.

Nobody has ever been injured while participating in the National Archery in the Schools Program, Hendrickson said. 

 “It is very safe,’’ he said.

Hendrickson believes that the introduction of archery will help some children get more excited about school.

“It will provide them with more motivation to come to school,’’ Hendrickson said. “Children enjoy school more and have a better attitude when there is something they look forward to.’’ 

He also said that it will help students connect with the community because so many here are involved in archery.

The program will also enhance the academic curriculum at elementary schools, because through it students will learn about Native American history and be involved in journal writing projects.

 The new archery will be taught in the La Grande School District by grade school teachers who have been certified by the National 

Archery in the Schools program. They will have a chance to be certified this summer when Greg Rogers of Medford, a NASP representative, will teach a course for teachers in La Grande.

Hendrickson is among those in the La Grande School District who are NASP certified.

The La Grande School District’s archery program  will be funded by private grants which will be used to purchase equipment including bows and foam targets. The school district has already received a $3,000 grant from the Wildhorse Foundation, a $1,000 start up grant from NASP and $250 grants from Alpine Archery and Les Schwab Tires.