SPANISH LAKE, Mo.– The St. Louis County Police Athletic League (PAL) is embracing the benefits of archery, which has been shown to improve school attendance, boost self-esteem, and increase physical activity. They will soon begin teaching a competitive target archery program to St. Louis County kids, with the help of a donation from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation.
MDC presented a kit of archery equipment used to teach the Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program (MoNASP) to the St. Louis County PAL April 13 at Hazelwood Middle School in Spanish Lake. The equipment included six bows, three targets, 60 arrows, a backstop net, and bow rack, all valued at approximately $1,500. Receiving the archery kit were Lt. Colonel Troy Doyle and Captain Norman Mann of the St. Louis County Police Department.
MoNASP instruction is typically a two-week indoor unit in the physical education curriculum teaching international style target archery to students in grades 4-12. It makes the school eligible to compete in a National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) tournaments on a local, state, national and international level. The St. Louis County PAL will utilize the program during its summer camp this year. Kids from four different St. Louis County sites will come to Hazelwood East to complete the weeklong MoNASP module in the school gymnasium.
“This equipment will be used to give St. Louis County area students an opportunity to participate in the sport of archery, a sport that is gaining in popularity with students across the state,” said Lorisa Smith, MDC Governmental Affairs Specialist.
Teachers in the program must attend a MoNASP training session to receive Basic Archery Instructor (BAI) certification. St. Louis County Police Officers Brandon Sierra, Darrin Young, Charles Willis, and Andrew Bonnel earned their BAI certification at an MDC workshop taught in March and will serve as the PAL’s MoNASP instructors.
Also in attendance to show support for the program were Missouri State Senator Gina Walsh, along with Missouri State Representatives Alan Green, Gretchen Bangert, and Tommie Pierson, Jr. After the presentation, all who attended got the opportunity to get some basic archery instruction and sample the sport themselves by shooting several rounds.
According to the St. Louis County PAL website, the program is volunteer-based with the goal of enabling members of the police department to coach young boys and girls in sports, help with homework and other school-related activities. The purpose is to build character, help strengthen police-community relations, and deter children from becoming involved in criminal activity. The PAL also strives for youth enrichment with educational and youth leadership programs outside of sports. The program has plans for members to train in and begin teaching MDC’s Discover Nature Fishing program in the future as well.
For more on the MoNASP archery program, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZSE.