USA Archery has developed the "Club Spotlight" feature as a way to help Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) clubs learn from one another, and hopefully share some cool ideas! This month, we're up in the Pacific Northwest with Next Step Archery - who is hosting a JOAD Camp in August. Thanks to Next Step Archery for answering our questions!
Please tell us where your club is located, and describe the local area:
Mountlake Terrace is a city in Snohomish County, Washington - a northern suburb of Seattle. The population is estimated to be 20,000.
How did your club get its start, and when?
Next Step Archery (NSA) was founded as owner Bob Hickey continued his lifelong love of archery – for all the learning opportunities and skills the sport offers students. NSA is an education-based entity, focusing on archery education and training of archery and coaches. The organization was incorporated in 2010.
What is your club’s name, and what’s the significance of the name? Was it something the archers chose, or did the club leader choose it?
The club is called Next Step Archery – a name designated by founder Bob Hickey. The organization emphasizes the art and the fun of archery as students are taught each step of the shot process and move forward in their archery journey.
Please tell us how large your club is – number of archers, number of coaches:
Each month Next Step Archery has an average of 215 Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD), 100 Adult Archery Achievement students and 80 students in private lessons. We have 20 coaches (Level 1, 2, and/or 3 certified) and 16 interns.
What are the age ranges for the archers in your club?
Our students range from 6 years old through adults (60+).
What’s your format for lessons/practices?
Our group lessons are based on a 32-week curriculum, with one lesson per week for 8 week sessions, and the 4 sessions are beginner, intermediate, advanced, and recreation league. We also have two competitive archery teams.
Does your club shoot for score (or achievement pins, or both)?
NSA does shoot for score, and has participated in the achievement pins but more recently Washington State Archery Association mail-in tournaments, and well as JOAD mail-in.
Do you have adult members (or an Adult Archery Achievement designation)?
Yes, we offer adult classes in an analogous 32-week curriculum. Next Step Archery has 100 adult students per month.
Has your club experienced growth, lost archers, or stayed at basically the same size in recent years?
We have experienced tremendous growth in recent years. In 2010 we had approximately 60 students starting lessons as the doors opened. In 2011 we grew to 99 students per month, 2012 was 197 students per month and in 2013 we are continuing with 239 students per month for the first quarter.
What kinds of things does your club do to help make practices fun and interesting?
We try to incorporate a number of fun things during our class curricula. The students shoot balloons, we also play archery games (such as tic-tac-bow, twenty-one, baseball) and we have a remote control balloon target as well. We include cartoon targets as well as safari animal targets on occasion for the beginner and intermediate level students for fun targets as well.
Does your club practice indoors, outdoors or both?
Until this year our club practiced primarily indoors on our 10 yard and 20 yard ranges with occasional visits to outdoor archery ranges in our area before competitions. Recently, we have been granted access to an outdoor field as well, so our advanced archers practice outdoors during spring and summer.
Do archers focus on target archery only, or do they also try field, 3D, clout or other rounds?
Our curriculum focuses primarily on target archery, although we encourage participation in state (WSAA) events as well. Our advanced students are taught Safari, Field/Hunter, FITA, and 3D targets as well. We will be implements class on archery hunting this summer as well.
Please tell us about equipment. Are your archers shooting recurve, compound or traditional equipment? Is there a large concentration of one bow type versus another?
Our archers shoot recurve, compound, or traditional equipment. We generally encourage beginners to start with recurve bows, and at the intermediate level we introduce compounds if they have not expressed interest sooner.
Are your archers participating in tournaments? If so, what kinds of tournaments do they enjoy (local, state, national – target, field, 3D)?
The majority of our students prefer our club fun shoots as well as the mail-in tournaments. We have done the JOAD mail-in, as well as the WSAA Multicolor Mail-in and WSAA Blueface Mail-in tournaments. We also have archers on our competitive team that enjoy shooting target, field, 3D tournaments at the state level. We have 22 archers from NSA who have participated in Nationals and 19 who participated in JOAD Nationals and in 2013 tournaments as well.
Are there any milestones you would like to share?
We have had the privilege of having a number of very talented individuals in our program. We have two archers who received the archer of the year award from the Washington State Archery Association. We have five archers who are national champions and one of those who has earned the JOAD Gold Olympian Award. We have one archer who just set the IFAA World Indoor record and two archers who won IFAA Indoor Worlds and one who won IFAA Outdoor Worlds. We have 9 archers who hold state records.
Does your club do anything socially outside of archery?
Our archers anticipate that most of our social activities will also involve archery. We have club fun shoots twice a year, for outdoor shoots and work parties we have barbeques when possible, and there is an annual holiday party held in conjunction with the Nock Point, a wonderful retail archery center located down the hall from NSA.
Has your team done any fund-raising during the past year? If so, what was successful for your club – something you would suggest to others?
We had a bake and craft sale when we hosted the 2012 and 2013 USA Archery Indoor Nationals which was quite successful.
Some clubs have multiple “teams” – for example, a tournament (traveling) team, and a team of newer archers. Does your club separate teams or classes by level of experience? If so, has it produced good results?
We have a youth competitive team that has been in place for 5 years. This team of archers has been quite successful throughout the program. The archers have won multiple local and state tournaments, set state records and broken each other’s state records, and produced 2 national champions and 2 state archers of the year. We have had archers who have worked on scout and school projects with us, and two archers have been recruited to and joined Columbia's varsity archery team. Due to the success of the youth program and the growing interest of adults, we have just started an adult competitive team this year.
Anything else you would like to include?
Next Step Archery is an education center for archers of all skills and abilities. We have birthday parties and we have USA Archery coaching certification courses. We have offered classes for students with disabilities, and we offer advanced/professional private lessons. We believe that self-discipline, patience, goal setting, consistency, personal responsibility and overcoming challenges are just a few of the life skills that can be learned in archery.
We have also developed an internship program for selected intermediate-advanced archers. We believe that archery and leadership skills can also be learned from the “other side” of the shooting line, so we encourage these selected archers to become involved in our program from the coaching aspect and as they advance we encourage them to become coaches.