Pierce City students requesting the formation of an archery club got a tentative okay from the R-6 Board of Education during its December meeting.
Students Travis Parrigon and Kelsey Conley, along with Jason French, science teacher at the district, approached board members citing a number of students not enrolled in traditional sports programs had expressed an interest in forming an archery club.
"It would be a great experience for all students," Parrigon said. "Archery in schools is gaining in popularity all across the nation."
According to Conley, five students showed up at an initial meeting to determine interest in forming the archery club. Several other students also expressed interest in joining as long as the meeting and practice times don't conflict with other sporting events in which they are enrolled.
"Some of the benefits include improved school attendance, increased self-esteem, increased physical activity, getting students outdoors and increasing interschool relationships," said Conley. "It also gives those students not enrolled in a school sport the chance to participate in an activity and feel a part of the school community."
French said the sport teaches critical thinking skills, as well.
"The bows are standard Genesis bows, used in competition," French said. "They are not tuned to the shooter. They are standard issue, which means the student has to adjust to the bow instead of adjusting the bow to the shooter. It gives everyone the same opportunity."
Club standards would require participants to maintain good grades in all of their classes and to participate in fundraising activities for the club.
Since the sport isn't governed by the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA), no specific team wear or dues schedule would be required.
For the initial year, students would be responsible for the purchase of their own bows, arrows and quivers. French said targets could be manufactured using plastic bags stuffed into cardboard boxes.
"There is also a grant available through the Missouri Department of Conservation that offers a rebate," French said. There is also a grant available from the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) organization.
Students participating in the club will be required to attend a minimum of 10 practices before being eligible to compete in state competition. Practices will be held Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings after school at the Wentworth shooting range. Saturday practices will be held for students enrolled in dial sports.
Students will provide their own transportation to and from the practice field, in addition to their own archery equipment and supplies.
Parents of students participating in the archery club must sign a liability waiver, holding the district harmless for injuries.
Parrigon and Conley expressed hopes of being able to attend the NASP World Championship, which will be held on June 28, 2013, in St. Louis.
Board members tentatively agreed to the formation of the club, pending a review of the liability waiver and clarification of other details by the district's attorney, Ransom Ellis III.