Mack S. March – If you’re reading this, you’re most likely a participant in archery. A coach, an archer, or even someone who just enjoys it. If you’re lucky, then you’ve got someone close to you who is also involved in it as well. Well, you wouldn’t know it, but family members of archers are some of the most important people to help the archery community, and I decided to see what NASP® archery was from their viewpoint. To really find out about it, I created a quick questionnaire for some of my local archery support members to fill out. And here are some of the common things I noticed throughout the questionnaires.
Throughout the many forms, one thing was common-almost all of them got started because their children wanted to shoot or were already shooting. One participant named Emily, who is a bus driver, said she and her children were introduced to archery at a Family Fun Day carnival. At the time her oldest daughter was in 1st grade and played an archery-related game. The coach there helped her daughter shoot the bow and her daughter loved it so much she couldn’t wait to get to 4th grade to join the team. As the years progressed, her younger sisters followed in her footsteps. Others, like a booster member named Jacklyn, have said that their child came home one day with a NASP® sign-up sheet and thought it would be a good sport that they could support. With their love of hunting, archery soon became a part of a new family activity for them.
It’s a common thing to have multiple family members in various sports, but it’s intriguing how many family members participate in NASP® itself. You may know families that have more than one member that enjoys NASP®, but I know one person that takes it to the next level – Coach Alyssa from Ekron elementary. Before Coach Alyssa was a coach she was an archer, and let me tell you, she had a lot of her family doing it with her. Her father became a coach, then her sister and two brothers also became archers. Her future husband and two sisters-in-law were also archers in NASP® at the time. Later on, when she became older, she and her sister became coaches after their dad retired. Today, her sister is no longer a coach but Alyssa continues coaching with her husband acting as her assistant at Ekron Elementary School. Coach Alyssa also says NASP® has provided her with a new hobby and a way to bond with her family.
Saying the same and expanding on it, booster members Pam and Emily, both say they have been volunteering more, which has led to them learning to work with their families better as well as spend more time with them. Almost everyone recommended NASP® for younger generations for the fact that it’s open to everyone whether athletically inclined or not, and it improves mental skills to help master the sport.
Accomplishments in any sport are significant, including the ones about family and the team. NASP® has provided many great accomplishments for families and friends. The growth in themselves and their family was mentioned by many people doing NASP®. The family atmosphere, along with supporting a great team, provides a great sense of achievement for many booster members and coaches. Emily said one of her and her children’s greatest joys was seeing and supporting her children’s emotions when they shot better than expected and became more confident in themselves.
One booster member named Kelly also enjoys that her twin’s grades and focus have improved greatly since being involved in NASP®.
LeAnne, a scorecard keeper and helper, says she just loves watching the kids improve at the sport but wishes there was more community involvement starting with the schools. Another participant wished that there was more communication. They wish coaches would share knowledge and talk to each other, as well as parents, about common problems and possible solutions.
There are many people behind the scenes that keep NASP® and the archery community running. If we didn’t have them we wouldn’t be able to enjoy NASP® as we do today. All the bus drivers that transport us to tournaments, the parent volunteers that help us set up and work the tables, the booster members who are able to find funding, track the money, and keep the coaches happy at these tournaments, as well as all of the coaches that teach the archers how to progress and enjoy archery. Finally, recognition is due to all of the supportive families and fans that encourage the archers in the NASP® community.
Many people have become involved with NASP® archery since its start over 20 years ago, which has led to it becoming one of their favorite hobbies and sports. It’s inspiring with its ability to bring so many different people together and provide them with something to enjoy as a group. Or even something to pass down as the new family tradition.
~Mack S. is a 2023 student contributor~