Today’s post is an on-the-spot account of the second Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program (MoNASP) tournament from Kevin Lohraff, who coordinates the Conservation Department’s outdoor skills programs:
It’s fun for me to watch folks walk in the door at the MoNASP state tournament. Most people pause. Some people stop at the door and just stare. The first word out of their mouth is usually, “Wow!”
I have to admit that it’s a pretty impressive sight to see 70 kids on the shooting line at one time—quiet, determined and absolutely focused. You could probably hear a pin drop if it weren’t for the dull roar of 70 arrows thumping into targets stretched out across three full-size gyms.
I am told often by parents and teachers that the kids they know at school and at home act differently when they shoot archery. They talk about a new energy—a type of awakening—when their kid picks up the bow. They are surprised by the amount of concentration and focus. They sometimes say “a light went on with my daughter” or “I have never seen my son so interested in anything like this before.” I sometimes reply with a “wow!” and I mean it.
As I look out across the tournament I am happy. I’m glad that 639 student archers from 31 schools are here and get to experience this unique opportunity. I’m glad that hundreds of teachers, school administrators, MDC staff and partners, parents and volunteers have invested in this program. And I’m especially glad that some of these kids who have picked up a bow today will continue to pick up bows the rest of their lives.
Find out about the growing list of benefits that can come to kids through archery. Ask teachers in your community if any of them might be interested in starting MoNASP at their school. Come to an archery tournament just to watch. Put a bow in a kid’s hands and help them shoot. You might see a little light go on and you might see a kid change before your eyes. You might just say, “Wow!”