Archery is taking aim at a new generation of enthusiasts, with national grant opportunities for college and universities, local programs that link archery to conservation and environmental education, and competitions for archers of all ages.
In 2021, USA Archery provided grant opportunities for college and university archery programs that totaled $110,000 in value and supported 18 programs. Through contributions from Easton Foundations (a large supporter of indoor and outdoor archery), USA Archery provided grants to help establish 16 new programs — including six funded varsity teams. Two additional grants were awarded to pilot intramural archery programs at schools with existing archery teams.
USA Archery’s Collegiate Archery Program allows student-athletes to develop fundamental skills, compete for individual and national team championships and earn Academic and All-American awards. Collegiate Archery Programs can be varsity teams with scholarships, club sports or student organizations on campus, and more than 70 teams are part of the program.
Schools that were awarded grants for new programs received equipment including targets, bows, arrows, a safety net, accessories and maintenance kits, and pre-paid registration to the USA Archery Online Level 2 Instructor Course.
Grants were given to the following schools:
- Arkansas State University Three Rivers
- Arkansas State University
- Baldwin Wallace University, Ohio
- Coe College, Iowa
- Ecclesia College, Arkansas
- Gannon University, Pennsylvania
- Lindenwood University, Missouri
- Livingstone College, North Carolina
- Lyon College, Arkansas
- Muskingum University, Ohio
- Oregon State University
- Presbyterian College, South Carolina
- SUNY Morrisville, New York
- University of Illinois at Chicago
- University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
- Washington University St. Louis, Missouri
“I am very excited that Livingstone College is embarking on something exciting and new,” Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr., president of Livingstone College, a historically black college, said in a statement. “Archery provides a different experience and opportunity for our students to engage in. This continues to add to our longstanding holistic approach at our institution.”
Lindenwood University is starting a new archery program, too, coached by Derek Schaub, who also is the men’s golf coach. “We actually started as a varsity program, but this grant has allowed us to better allocate our resources to shoot more competitions and recruit even more great student-athletes to grow our program,” Schaub said in a statement. “We currently have a roster of 13 and expect [to] have 25 or more next year.”
Meanwhile, USA Archery’s equipment kit and target grants were awarded to pilot intramural programs at Connors State College in Oklahoma and the University of California San Diego. Connors State has a varsity team and UCSD has a well-established USA Archery collegiate club with a strong competitive history. These pilot programs are backed by experienced leadership on campuses with strong support for the existing team programs, according to USA Archery, and the goal of the pilot programs is to evaluate a league format model that can be used to introduce the sport to new participants.
USA Archery will offer more Collegiate Archery Program grants in 2022.
Some future beneficiaries of those grants could be found in upstart youth archery programs around the country.
In Michigan, the Salvation Army Lansing Capital Area hosted a February open house to introduce families to Impact Archery and Project Wild — a free 13-week youth archery and conservation program design to teach kids in grades 4 through 12 basic archery skills and safety while also participating in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Project WILD.
“We received a grant that helped us pay for all the equipment,” Lt. James Beardsley, a Salvation Army officer and one of the program’s volunteer certified archery instructors, told WILX.com. “It was able to pay 75% of the overall cost. But to actually run the program, it does not cost us a lot.”
“Without kids wanting to compete and have a love for the sport of archery, the future of our association’s platform for growth of the sport would inevitably decline,” Ken White, vice president of marketing for the Archery Shooters Association, a Georgia-based organization that hosts amateur and professional competitions, said when promoting February’s Hoyt/Easton Pro/Am in Foley, Ala. “We want our youth competitors to develop that strong work ethic and receive a sense of accomplishment when they achieve their archery goals, and have them continue to enjoy the sport just like their families have for many years.”
Although the event attracted about 2,000 shooters of all ages, it focused on attracting young people with a new range designed solely for kids. “The first two shots are across some water,” said David Eckman, a local park ranger involved with the event. “We have a ditch that goes through there that’s full of water. So you shoot the target across the water, and then you walk across the bridge to get your arrow. I don’t think there are any other ranges where you shoot across the water, so I think the kids are really going to like that. It’s only eight-foot wide but it’s enough to make it a cool shot.”
Further inspiration for young archers can be found in Team USA’s Matt Stutzman and Lia Coryell, who both made history at the 2022 World Archery Para Championships in the United Arab Emirates — winning gold and world para champion titles.
Three-time Paralympian Matt Stutzman defeated the Russian Archery Federation’s Aleksandr Gombozhapov in the first final in history featuring two archers without arms competing against each other. Coryell, meanwhile, became the first U.S. woman W1 world champion and then immediately announced her retirement from competing in the sport following this season.