The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) is nationwide youth archery program developed in Kentucky in 2002 that is designed to promote self-confidence, teamwork, discipline, and physical fitness in school-aged children. In Alaska, the program is a joint venture between NASP, the Department of Education, and the Division of Wildlife Conservation, along with the support of several archery equipment manufacturers and local sportsman’s organizations. Recently, almost 600 students from across Alaska competed in the 2013 Alaska State NASP tournament.
The tournament features competition with accepted rules and standards. Each participant shoots five practice arrows, then three more additional attempts of five arrows each. A perfect shot is worth 10 points, with the maximum score being 150. This process is repeated at 15 meters. The maximum total for the whole round is 300 points.
The competition was fierce. Overall, the archers of Prince of Wales Island’s South East Island School District garnered first-place rankings for middle- and high schools with the elementary school award going to Bethel’s Gladys Jung Elementary School. Meanwhile, Brandon Schmidt and Angela Hannan from Delta/Greely Schools topped the individual high-scorers with scores of 296 points each. These top scorers, as well as other high achievers, qualified to attend the NASP national tournament to be held in St. Louis, Missouri.
The competition is important, but the spirit of the program is more than winning trophies and awards. The combination of physical effort, mental acumen, and supportive atmosphere makes NASP a winning venture for all participants. About 10% of Alaskan schools include this archery program in their physical education curriculum and that number is expected to grow as the program demonstrates results.