Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's

National Archery in the Schools Program receives $100,000 grant from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund

Fourth consecutive year for six-figure grant to the youth archery program, which has impacted 19 million youngsters since its inception

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund continued its support for the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) on Tuesday, issuing its fourth $100,000 grant to the program in as many years.

NASP currently supports more than 1 million students across North America, and has impacted more than 19 million youngsters since its inception in 2002. This grant aims to continue to expand that reach by providing gear for new chapters and covering the cost of archery equipment for kids who may not otherwise be able to afford it.

NASP embodies Bass Pro Shops’ mission to introduce new audiences to the outdoors – two-thirds of its participants were first-time archers when they entered the program.

For Hannah Grandson, a senior at Parkview High School in Springfield, the appeal of archery goes behind the bow, the arrow and the target.

It’s about bringing people together from different backgrounds and different interests, working toward a common goal. And developing lasting friendships.

“It’s a spot where everybody from any walk of life can come and participate,” Grandon said. “You can have somebody who is more into books or more into football, and they can come together and become friends over just shooting arrows.”

Grandon got together with several of her prospective friends – of all ages and from schools throughout Springfield – on Tuesday morning at the Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters, for a ceremony and check presentation.

NASP has 770 participating schools and 90,000 students involved in the state of Missouri, in a partnership with Bass Pro Shops and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The program provides far more than just learning the ability to hit the target with an arrow.

“Not only do they learn the skill of archery, but archery has also proven to be a gateway into other outdoor recreational opportunities,” said Bob Ziehmer, senior director of conservation at Bass Pro Shops. “Schools record that many participants, due to the discipline required in archery, notice academic benefits as well.”

Representatives from NASP’s partner organizations, including the Missouri Department of Conservation and Springfield Public Schools (SPS), were in attendance for the ceremony. Following the check presentation, students from NASP chapters in Springfield performed an archery demonstration in the store’s parking lot, wowing onlookers with their consistency.

One of them was Zachary Ondr, a 13-year-old from Pershing Middle School. For Zachary, archery has always had a close, personal connection for him.

“When I was 3, my grandfather got me my first compound bow, a 5-pound draw,” he said. “He taught me a lot, but he had cancer and passed away. He’s one of the big reasons I kept doing it. It’s something we got to do together.”

NASP helps schools implement archery programs, which allows participants to learn focus, self-control, discipline and patience. Those traits all help students learn lessons and become better citizens, spouses and employees, said Tommy Floyd, NASP vice president.

The grant from Bass Pro Shops helps make these archery programs possible – providing equipment at no cost, coordinating competitions and coaching teams.

“With the support of our partners, we have been able to remove barriers to participation for students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds,” said Marty Marsh, assistant athletic director for SPS. “Today, many students who would not have been a part of a school sports team proudly identify themselves as members of their school’s archery team.”

It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved, getting youngsters in the outdoors, competing against themselves and building self-esteem that will last a lifetime.

“When you master the bow and arrow, you become someone who is in better control of yourself,” Floyd said. “We say we change lives one arrow at a time.”