I wanted to take a moment of your time to express my gratitude and appreciation for NASP® as it relates to my school and to my children. I am the NASP® coach at Billings R-IV Schools in Billings, MO. Greg Collier is our conservation rep. for our area and he does a wonderful job. I have talked with Mr. Edwards at many of the state events and I met Mr. Floyd at the coaches conferences a couple summers ago.
Billings is a small school, less than 400 students. Most kids are either involved in one of three areas: athletics, fine arts, or academics. Sometimes they cross over, but not many. At least that is how is was until NASP® came into our school. As with any program, it started off small, but that is not the case now. We have up to 85 kids that shoot archery with us in our after school practices. We teach archery in the elementary PE curriculum and also in Jr. High and at the High School level. Every student at Billings has shot archery.
Our archery program at Billings is pretty special. We have 3 complete teams, elementary, middle school, and high school. I am so proud of these archers. In the past year, our teams have won many local events. We have several individual shooters that shine on their own like Skyler Metscher who won 4th at the World Tournament in Florida this past summer. However, as proud as I am of our scores, it is the kids and the community I wanted to tell you about.
Our school host 4 events a season. We host 2 state qualifying tournaments on our own, we co-host the state qualifying Southwest Regional Tournament. At these events, it is all hands on deck. Our school has a support system that is above and beyond. My parents make sure all is taken care of, they are dedicated to making the tournaments something special. They help in the set-up, the logistics, and the take down. At each tournament we run 2 events, bulls-eye and 3D. They are exhausting, but I am never alone in getting it all done. With our support from our school and parents, we run some of the best tournaments I have seen. Our 4th event is a benefit tournament for fun. We invite the community to participate with us. This is not a qualifying event, but a chance to help someone in need. Last year we raised $4, 000 for an archery family whose mom had brain cancer. She was always the announcer at our tournaments, their whole family was involved. Unfortunately we lost Mrs. Huffman in the summer. This was not our first loss to cancer, our beloved principal Mrs. Abromovitz, who was our archery sponsor. She traveled with us to State, Nationals, and Worlds all decked out in Wildcat Archery Wear. She passed last spring from cancer. For this and others, our team shirts have the cancer ribbon on the sleeve.
The point behind this is that our archers are more than shooting for a score, they shoot for each other. They come up with the ideas on how to help, honor, and remember each other. This year, we are raising money for the cancer society and for the red shoe Shriners (one of my shooters is alive due to the generosity of this organization). They are amazing group of kids that are thinking of others more than themselves. But it is not just one type of kid. I have shooters that are the best athletics, the top of the academic scale, and the most popular. But I also have the shy kids, the kids who may not fit in, the kids who are struggling. I have a couple of special needs kids who have nothing else. But they shoot like everyone else. I can’t express my gratitude enough to a program that offers self-confidence, self-reliance, and team building.
My teams work and trains hard. If they win a tournament or get high scores, I am so proud of that accomplishment. But it is the accomplishments that they make each day that I am most proud of. This program gives an opportunity for each child to do something amazing. I have seen it work and I am grateful. Don’t misunderstand though, when my kids complete, they compete to win, but they already have in my book.
I am sorry this is so long and I could make it longer with stories of how this program has worked in our school, but I hope you get the idea. Thank you for all you do in the program.
Billings NASP® Coach
Billings R-IV Schools in Billings, MO