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Montana students taking aim at archery competition

GFPS students taking aim at archery competition
Dugan Coburn
Posted at 2:13 PM, Dec 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-28 16:13:35-05

GREAT FALLS - Inside Paris Gibson Education Center in Great Falls, archery practice is underway as students prepare for an archery competition in February.

This is a relatively new program for the school district but one that's proving very popular.

"We're trying to get started with the National Archery in our Schools Program (NASP) and we're just starting and inviting kids to come in and learn how to shoot,” explained Great Falls Public Schools Indigenous Education Director Dugan Coburn.

Around a dozen kids picked up bows and arrows and took aim at targets on Tuesday, guided by Coburn.

"It's one of the safest programs you can have,” Coburn said. "This is another way to get a different group of kids into participating in a sport."

Kids like ninth-grader Alayna Shedd.

"I'd never tried archery before and I thought it'd be a new experience, especially living in Montana. I came from Washington, D.C., which is a big difference from here, and I thought I might try something that was new,” Shedd said.

GFPS students learn archery

She was enjoying the experience, even after only shooting a few arrows: "It's definitely been fun. It's definitely challenging but I'm so glad I tried this."

The school district actually joined NASP in the spring of 2022 but was finally at the point Tuesday of being able to prepare for competition.

"There were quite a few Great Falls teachers (who) took the instructor programming training. Once we got that done, it was, like, 'Well, now we need to start getting that out to the students in our community. There's over 120 schools, it might be 140 schools now, in Montana that are doing archery in their schools,” Coburn explained.

At least two of those schools were expected to participate in the February 17 tournament hosted at Paris Gibson Education Center. Aside from local tournaments, there is also a state tournament held in Helena each year.

Click here to learn more about NASP.