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For Release: Friday, May 8, 2015

DEC Invites New York School Districts to Enroll in the National Archery in The Schools Program

More Than 330 Students from 15 School Districts Participated in 2015

School districts from across New York State are invited to enroll in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), sponsored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The NASP program introduces young people to archery and other shooting sports.

"The National Archery in the Schools Program is growing rapidly in New York," said Commissioner Martens. "Under Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this cooperative effort is a great way to bring the sport of archery to millions of students across the United States and other countries. Archery is one of only a handful of sports that enables students of all ages and athletic abilities to compete at the same level for top honors, and as a sport dominated by precision and practice rather than age and brawn."

The seventh annual New York State NASP tournament was held on March 7 and was a great success with 332 students from 15 school districts participating in this competition. This was the first NY NASP state tournament where all the archers were together shooting on the same day. There are three divisions: High School, grades 9-12; Middle School, grades 6-8; and Elementary School, grades 4-5. Each competitor could achieve a maximum score of 300 points.

The overall top female archer in the tournament was Jordan Sands from Hinsdale Middle School in Cattaraugus County with a score of 268. The top male archer in the tournament was Eric Vandergroef from Mohawk Valley Christian Academy in Herkimer County with a score of 285. Each received a trophy, a Genesis bow, a Morrell target and a dozen arrows. Awards were also given out in each of the three divisions for first through fifth places.

The first place team in the high school division was St. Joseph by the Sea High School in Richmond County. The first place team in the middle school division was Norwich Middle School in Chenango County. The first place team in the elementary division was Hinsdale Elementary School in Cattaraugus County. Trophies were also given out in each of the three divisions for 2nd and 3rd places.

Individuals that placed in the top ten and teams that placed first in each of the three divisions qualify to compete and represent New York at the national NASP tournament held in Louisville, Kentucky on May 7-9. Last year, 30 students from New York State participated in this national NASP tournament.

NASP is designed to engage more students in the educational process and improve participation in outdoor-type activities among students of all athletic abilities. DEC is involved in the program to introduce young people to archery and other shooting sports, a common way to become interested in hunting and the outdoors. NASP continues to grow at the national level with 2.3 million students participating in the program during the 2012-13 school year. More than 12,000 schools in 47 states, Washington D.C., Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia have adopted the program. In New York State, 261 schools from 143 school districts participate in the program and over 32,000 students participated in the program during the 2013-2014 school year.

Bob Nebel, the archery coordinator and coach for St. Joseph by the Sea, in Richmond County said: "NASP has done so much for our students. It opened the door to a new and exciting "out of the box" experience. It has provided self-motivation, built up student confidence, and created a drive in them to become active. It helped them with responsibility, self-discipline, and creating a positive self-esteem. Parents have come up to me thanking us for giving their son/daughter this opportunity. They have said by participating in this NASP program, it has changed their child's whole demeanor for the better. They look forward to school and being part of something. Out of the 33 students from St. Joseph by the Sea that participated in the NY-NASP State Tournament, 27 have never shot a bow before the NASP program."

Jerry Tabolt, a physical education teacher at Rome Free Academy, in Oneida County said: "The NY NASP State tournament was a huge success with over 300 archers from around New York. The work that the DEC put into this event was remarkable. The students were the benefactors as smiling faces could be seen throughout the gymnasium the whole day."

For more information on NASP and to view the NASP photo gallery, visit the DEC website.

DEC is looking for volunteers to assist in training physical education teachers for the NASP. Those interested in volunteering or know of a school that would like to join the program, please contact Melissa Bailey, the state program coordinator for NY-NASP at 315-793-2515 or e-mail at

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