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Interest in archery hits bullseye at Mill Creek

About 50 boys and girls in grades 4-6 are in the 2014-2015 archery team at Mill Creek Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
About 50 boys and girls in grades 4-6 are in the 2014-2015 archery team at Mill Creek Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Interest has soared sky-high in the archery program, founded by Coach Jennifer Klein at Mill Creek Elementary School.

Klein was “very apprehensive” about introducing archery but found support and “a lot of encouragement” from Mill Creek Principal Dr. Claudia Styles.

Klein teaches archery during physical education for grades 4-6 and coaches a team on Thursday afternoons at Mill Creek, assisted by Jackie Smith and Martha Prichard. These instructors are certified by the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).

The first step for implementing archery at Mill Creek was to completing NASA’s eight-hour certification course with a NASP representative. Smith submitted a grant application to NASP to help offset cost of archery equipment. Lastly, they received Madison Board of Education’s approval.

AHSAA recognizes archery as a sanctioned event but “not necessarily an equivalent for elementary. NASP, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, governs rules for archery,” Klein said.

For students, physical training isn’t required. “It’s a sport for everyone, regardless of one’s disability or limitations,” Klein said. “The equipment used is universal.”

The Genesis (Original) bow can accommodate draw lengths up to 30 inches and can adjust in draw weight from 10-20 pounds.

During team practice, students “spend as much time as possible at the shooting line to continue working on and mastering the 11 steps to archery success. Repetition is paramount in the learning process,” she said.

The 2014-2015 archery team has 50 boys and girls in grades 4-6. Parents of interested participants must attend a mandatory meeting and pay a $25 membership fee for arrows and repairs. Participants must practice on Thursdays after school until 4:30 p.m.

Klein has contacted Legacy and Buckhorn elementary schools about entering regional competition in March 2015. Columbia and Rainbow elementary schools have expressed interest and started the grant process. Klein hopes middle and high schools will show interest and avoid traveling to south Huntsville to join a club.

Klein is discussing a possible outdoor archery range at Dublin Park with Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and Madison Parks and Recreation.

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