Last week when CJ, Jess, and myself went to Northern Dutchess Archery and Sportsmen Supply in Red Hook, we all got to talking about our past experiences in archery. Jess had never shot a bow, CJ had when he was younger, and I didn't experience archery until I had left college and began to compete at local sportsmen's clubs.

While it had been almost 20 years since I had picked up a bow, I fell in love with the sport all over again and I asked if it's is taught in schools here in New York because it wasn't where I grew up in Pittsburgh. The answer is a resounding yes. In fact, the popularity of archery through the National Archery in the Schools program is on the rise here in New York.

This organization works with each participating state's conservation department, school districts, and other organizations to help teach the sport of archery to our youth and encourage outside activity. Each year, a national competition is held and, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,  60 students from New York scored high enough in the state competition to compete in this year's tournament in Louisville, Kentucky on May 11-May 13.

Not only does this program enable kids who might not ever be involved in a school sport program, to participate, but it also builds self-esteem. Something, that unfortunately, many of our youth have too little of.

If you want to find out how your school or organization can get involved, visit the DEC's website. You can also call 315-793-6308. Good luck to our students competing at Nationals next month!

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