Sullivan, Mo — Thanks to the generosity of the National Wild Turkey Federation, countless Sullivan and Cuba youths will find aim through the Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program (MoNASP).
MoNASP is administered by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and modeled after the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). It’s taught in a two-week unit during grades 4-12, normally within physical education classes.
“It benefits the kids because it promotes self-esteem and self-confidence,” according to Amy Francka, MDC Outdoor Skills Coordinator. Francka coordinates MoNASP statewide, and said the program has shown itself to help increase attendance, enhance concentration, and provide a source of motivation for its students.
Francka said Missouri picked up the program in 2007 and since then, the number of active MoNASP schools has grown from 20 to 183.
“Participating schools have the option of competing in regional, state and national competitions,” she said.
To help grow the program in Crawford County, the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), the Meramec Valley Strutters, submitted a proposal to the Federation’s Super Fund grant program.
The NWTF awarded a grant of $1,500 each to three schools. These include St. Anthony Elementary School in Sullivan, and Cuba Middle School and Cuba High School in Cuba.
“I think it’s a great program,” said NWTF Regional Director Tim Besancenez. “We’re touching a lot of kids that normally would not have the opportunity to shoot a bow and arrow, and hopefully get them introduced to outdoor skills like hunting and fishing,” he added.
The NWTF will use the grant money to purchase NASP-prescribed archery equipment, including 5 Mathews Genesis compound bows, 50 arrows, 3 targets, and backstop netting, for each of the schools. The equipment will be put to use during the upcoming school year.
MDC regularly holds MoNASP training to certify teachers to teach the program in their schools. One such training was held at St. Anthony Elementary School in Sullivan on July 6. Educators from as far as Kirksville and Buffalo attended the day-long instruction, and a total of 11 MoNASP certifications were awarded. Among those certified were staff from each of the schools receiving the NWTF grant funds.
“We’re just glad to fund the money through the NWTF Super Fund,” said Besancenez. “It’s been proven a success in other states.”
More information about MoNASP can be found at www.MissouriConservation.org.