Students have new sporting opportunities on field trip
For the Hillsboro Middle School sixth-grade class, the end of the year field trip Friday was just a few miles away from the desks that they sat at all year. And while the location for the trip was not exotic, many of the students experienced new activities that were exclusive to a day at the lake — one of them being archery.
The “Survivor Day” was developed eight years ago by the sixth grade staff at HMS and was initially designed to give students an opportunity to experience something different from the usual two-hour bus ride that ended with a visit to a zoo or a museum.
This day at the lake involved hands-on activities and included building a fire to cook a hot dog lunch followed by dessert of roasted marshmallow s’mores.
French Creek Cove was the site for the fun. Multiple stations were set up and students were divided into groups. Each group of five or six students was given time at each station. The activities included Frisbee golf, hillbilly horseshoes, bocce ball, agility and teamwork drills, crafts, and shooting skills with pellet guns and bows and arrows.
Students had experienced some of the activities prior to the outing, but one station had a new feel. The archery station, manned by sixth grade teacher Phil Oelke, had new archery equipment that was secured through the National Archery in the Schools (NASP) program.
Archery has been a part of the physical education curriculum at the high school level in USD 410 for several years but the NASP program had been adopted and funded for the next school year. It is designed for students fourth through 12th grades and the national organization developed the curriculum to be used in schools. It had also branched out to non-profit organizations as well. The kit has a price tag of $2,600 and was funded primarily through support from the middle school site council and Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
The National Wild Turkey Federation helped to secure equipment necessary to run the program at or below cost, as did some outdoor industry companies.
The activity is well monitored with safety rules in place.
After each student determined a dominate eye, a bow was assigned. Instructions on handling the equipment were reviewed and reinforced throughout the activity. The participants lined up behind a safety line and shot at targets several feet away. If they shot well before the signal to change groups, Oelke moved the targets further away to make it more challenging.
“The benefits to this program are huge,” Oelke said. “There isn’t a kid that can’t participate in it. It has been proven especially beneficial for students with handicaps, who are blind or in wheelchairs. Many students with handicaps participate every year at the NASP tournament.”
Oelke emphasized the overall and reaching appeal of shooting a bow.
“Archery can be a successful activity for anyone. Size, gender or athletic ability doesn’t mean anything with this sport,” he said.
The true test of the success of any activity is the review from the people involved.
“I really liked the trip to the lake,” Reece Berens said. “My favorite part was the archery and the pellet guns. Because we live in town, we don’t get to do it, and I think I did pretty good. It was a fun day.”
Abi Hurst agreed.
“I definitely had fun, especially making the hot dogs and s’mores,” she said. “I like being outdoors and love to camp bud don’t get to do it very often. We had a great time.”