WHEELING – A program set for next month hits the bullseye for those wanting to be archery instructors – or to just learn how to shoot a bow and arrow.
A basic archery instructor training and certification class is set to take place from 8 am to 3:30 pm on Monday, Feb.13, at West Liberty Elementary School. The day also is a professional learning day for teachers in Ohio County Schools.
The event is free to the public, and is being jointly sponsored by Ohio County Archery, Ohio County Schools, West Liberty University and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Resources.
Coordinating the registrations is Kathleen Wack, professor of health and physical education at WLU. Those wanting more information or to register for the class should contact Wack at 304-336-8535.
Archery is becoming especially popular in Ohio County as a number of local schools now have an archery program, and participation in the Ohio County Archery club is increasing.
“The sport is growing, and it is a cool sport for West Virginia,” Wack said. “We have many outdoor enthusiasts in the state, and archery gets a whole different group of athletes participating and connected to our schools.”
The OCAC serves youth in grades 4-12 from all Ohio County Schools, and follows safety guidelines established by the National Archery in Schools Programs.
“Many local school districts will only allow people to work with the students if they are certified,” Wack explained. “This training corresponds with that program.”
The certification class at West Liberty Elementary will be taught by Sgt. James Crawley, a certified trainer with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. He conducts similar archery training throughout the state, according to Wack.
Retired Bridge Street Middle School physical education teacher Rick Thomas championed having archery instruction in Ohio County Schools, and is still involved with Ohio County Archery. Ohio County Schools will be providing the equipment used for the training class.
Thomas said similar trainings previously scheduled on Saturdays typically attracted about 20 participants.
“If we do this on a Saturday, we can have people from three states (West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania) and have even had some drive up from Charleston to participate.
“On a Monday, I’m not sure what the turnout will be.”
He hopes the training on a professional learning day will lead to more teachers in Ohio County Schools teaching archery skills.
Primarily, two groups of people attend the trainings, according to Thomas. There are teachers who want to start an archery program at their school, and parents who want to assist their archery student children and experience what they are doing.
“We do go over the fundamentals of shooting a bow and arrow,” he continued. “In 2014, when I got certified, I had never shot a bow before.
“We will have some first-time shooters, and hopefully they will use the information and start a program.”
Wack teaches a physical education class for aspiring health and physical education teachers, during which they learn archery skills, she said. Wack is a certified archery instructor.
“Participants will learn the fundamentals, and learn to teach the fundamentals,” she said. “They will learn how to run a safe range.
“Archery is one of the safest sports because the protocols are so stringent. Instructors are really vigorous about maintaining a safe environment for everyone.
Those not familiar with archery also can participate in the training, run through the fundamentals, and get better at shooting through the day, Wack continued. In the end, she hopes even they will leave with their teaching certification.
“That’s why this class is exciting,” she explained. “Archery can be intimidating to teach if you are not familiar with the basics.”