8.6.09 | ATA Contribution Helps Ignite Archery Participation in Michigan
SALT LAKE CITY – If the Archery Trade Association could be classified as barnstormers delivering both funding and a strong message to promote its Community Archery Program (CAP), then Michigan must be a fast-moving army as its leaders and foot soldiers boost archery participation statewide.“We really have great momentum right now with a few standout states moving forward and making archery readily available to youths,” said Michelle Doerr, the ATA’s director of archery and bowhunting programs. “Michigan is among the states leading the way. They continue to make great investments in recruiting archers and bowhunters.”
Proof of this investment is the program’s progress: Since 2006, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) staff-person has been assigned fulltime to coordinating archery in the state, 10 more archery-focused, regional staff members are in the pipeline, and the $3.5 million Demmer Shooting Sports, Education and Training Center is set to open in September. The Michigan DNR partnered with Michigan State University in 2006 to develop the center, with a large contribution from the Demmer family. Archery became a viable part of the facility through contributions from the ATA and Easton Sports Development Foundation.
In 2008, the ATA provided the first $100,000 installment toward its $500,000 pledge to support the center and its outdoor Humphries Archery Park. Recently, the ATA contributed another $100,000 installment for 2009. The shooting center will serve as the hub of Michigan’s CAP, as well as the focal point for archery/bowhunting recruitment and retention efforts by the state’s wildlife agency. It includes a 30-meter, 12-lane indoor archery range and a 15-meter, 16-lane indoor firearms range, which can also be used for archery, and Michigan’s first outdoor archery park.
But an archery facility needs archers and bowhunters as much as archers and bowhunters need a shooting facility, which is why the ATA recently contributed $30,000 to Michigan’s state wildlife agency to help fund the 10 part-time, regional archery coordinator positions. Before this investment, the ATA invested $250,000 to fund the archery position filled in 2006, bringing total staff funding to $280,000.
The regional coordinators are now being hired to assist the agency’s Mary Emmons, who was hired in 2006 to promote archery and bowhunting statewide.
“As archery programs grew, we couldn’t keep up with demand,” said Emmons, the state’s full-time chief archery coordinator. “The regional coordinators allow us to put more instructors in the field, whether it’s for NASP, 4-H, Scouts or whatever. We’ve had a waiting list for archery classes. Now we can start filling those needs.”
In the 30-plus months since the MDNR designated a full-time position to archery, Michigan schools participating in National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) have grown from 40 to 320, promoting the need for more staff to accommodate this growth.
“The deeper we grow archery across the state, the more important it becomes to provide staff support,” said Rebecca Humphries, MDNR director. “Mary is a dedicated, enthusiastic leader, but she can only train so many people herself to teach archery. These regional coordinators aren’t full-time positions, but they’ll help Mary carry out her work.”
To date, the ATA has contributed $595,000 to Michigan’s CAP. This doesn’t include future commitments, which will bring total contributions to more than $1 million. Nationally, the ATA has provided funding totaling about $900,000 – including grants provided through CAP – to initiate NASP in the United States, Canada and Australia since 2004. It has also contributed nearly $960,000 in CAP grants, equipment and direct aid to state wildlife agencies to grow archery and expand bowhunting opportunities.
Did You Know?
The ATA has donated grants totaling more than $620,000 to help fund National Archery in the School Program pilot efforts in more than 41 states, Canadian provinces and Australia.