Archery targets self-esteem for kids
Fun sport alsoState agencies created program
Abrams raises a left-handed bow with some instruction from gym
teacher Kelley Mullaney-Schleg at Mother of Good Counsel School.
Photos by Arza Barnett, The
C-JFifth-grader Elliott Cabrera, foreground, took aim
during an archery class at Mother of Good Counsel School on
Westport Road. Teacher Kelley Mullaney-Schleg stood behind the
Mullaney-Schleg showed fifth-grader Lindsey
Poulter how to place her fingers to hold the arrow during an
archery class. "Hitting the bull's-eye is a big confidence
builder," Mullaney-Schleg said.
Mullaney-Schleg steps back, Abrams draws the string, releases it
and her arrow hits the target dead center. Her fifth-grade
classmates cheer. Abrams smiles in glee. It's her first bull's-eye.
"I usually don't even hit the target," she said later. Her three
other arrows aren't so perfect; one hits the curtain behind the
targets in the gym. But that one perfect shot. ...
"Hitting the bull's-eye is a big confidence builder,"
She began Mother of Good Counsel's archery program this year.
It's part of the National Archery in the Schools Program developed
by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources in
conjunction with the state Department of Education and implemented
at more than 800 schools nationwide, including six in Jefferson
The program is designed to introduce Olympic-style archery to
students in sixth through eighth grades. But Mullaney-Schleg opted
to also include third- through fifth-graders.
The students use adjustable, child-sized equipment. Schools must
have a teacher trained at a National Archery Association course, and
the equipment costs about $2,400. The wildlife department provides
grants of $525 to Kentucky schools — the cost of half the 10 bows.
Roy Grimes, assistant to the commissioner for Fish and Wildlife
Resources, said schools in 50 countries have inquired about the
said the department wants to promote skills that help people
appreciate the outdoors and learn to take care of the wild places in
|More information |
on the National Archery in the Schools Program, call the
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at
(800) 858-1548 or go to http://www.nasparchery.com./
Besides a 45-minute gym class each week, the school has an
archery club that meets for 1½ hours after school on Wednesdays.
Club members are preparing for a March tournament with other schools
in the program at the Kentucky International Convention Center.
At Mother of Good Counsel, a Catholic school at 8509 Westport
Road, 10 students at a time shoot at five hard-rubber targets using
sharp, metal-pointed arrows. They progressively move farther back.
"Pull the string back to the corner of your smile,"
Mullaney-Schleg said. "If you really pull the string back, your
arrow will go farther and straighter."
Because shooters have little room to maneuver and lots of room
for injury, safety has to come first, Mullaney-Schleg said. There's
no room for horseplay, especially in a class of 21 10-year-olds, she
Students have been enthusiastic, she said.
"It's cool," said Leonard Spencer, the first one to class that
"The first time I did it, I didn't hit the target with any of my
arrows," said David Morris, adding that he likes archery.
Mullaney-Schleg also teaches traditional physical education, but
that doesn't appeal to everyone. "This teaches kids that they can
get fit in a different way. It looks cool among their peers and it
helps kids who aren't into traditional sports learn that they can
find a way to be healthy," she said.
Principal Liz Lueke remembers the first time Mullaney-Schleg
brought in the third- and fourth-graders: "When they hit the target,
you could just see their self-confidence rise."
For information on the National Archery in the Schools Program,
call the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at (800)
858-1548 or go to http://www.nasparchery.com./