By Stacey Tucker
KINGSTON — Many kids have never even picked up a bow and arrow before and the students of Kingston Public Schools are learning the ins and outs of archery safety.
Thanks to a donation from Whitetails Unlimited and a matching grant from the Michigan DNR, Kingston Schools are now teaching students from the third to twelfth grade archery safety with the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).
“I hope you enjoy this but number one, be safe,” Kingston Elementary Principal Lane Walker said to the students Thursday during the kick-off after school event. “We’re going to teach this because number one, this is safe and number two, this is fun.”
Walker first learned about the program last Spring while talking with Dale Terbush during a Whitetails Unlimited banquet.
“I look for things to spend money on for kids each year,” Terbush said. “I talked with Lane and said I’m looking for a school interested in doing something like this.”
Walker added Terbush and him have the same goals to help kids.
“I’m extremely thrilled,” Walker said. “With financial times the way they are, we would never be able to do this without Dale Terbush and the Michigan DNR.”
The total needed for the equipment and to be trained was over $6,000.
The equipment and training was provided by the Michigan DNR program NASP, which was developed due to wildlife conservation agencies being concerned too many young people were forgoing learning outdoor skills that will inspire them to spend more time outdoors. Natural resource professionals are convinced learning target shooting skills will result in character and self-reliance development that will serve the future wildlife conservation well.
To date, over 500 schools, representing 78 counties statewide have adopted the program.
At Kingston Schools, the third through twelfth grade classes will shooting during P.E. classes, in addition to an after school program that will meet once a month.
There are 10 staff members trained to teach the students and work with them in the program, a number Terbush said is high for most schools.
“One thing about our staff is they love kids,” Walker said. “Our motto is to get kids involved and show them we care.”
“It’s also extremely safe and teaches kids safety and patience.”
During their kick-off after school event, there were approximately 160 kids interested in the program.
“That’s over half of our school property,” Walker said.
Stacey Tucker is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at tucker@tcadvertiser.