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August 24, 2005

Schools for Deaf and Blind to participate in archery program

From: Keyser Mineral Daily News Tribune, WV - Aug 24, 2005

By JENNIFER WESTFALL, Tribune Staff Writer

ROMNEY - The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind will become the first school of its kind to participate in a nationwide archery program.

The program will be sponsored by the West Virginia Chapter of the National Wildlife Turkey Federation (NWTF), along with the Potomac Highlands Chapter.

The NWTF donated $2,000 to the local Romney school for equipment to implement the program.

Representatives from the NWTF will be visiting the campus on September 8 to present Bob Haines, athletic director at the Deaf and Blind School, with the equipment.

The gear will consist of Genesis bows with matching arrows, targets, a Kevlar back stop and ground quivers which will be contained in custom-built boxes, according to Haines. And his students and himself are anxious to use it.

"We are really excited to begin this new program at our school and introducing them to a life skill. And the kids seem to be really looking forward to taking part in it," Haines commented.

Haines noted that all the supplies are "geared toward safety."

"Everything the students will be using will stress the safety and educational aspect of archery, such as teaching the students how to safely shoot and retrieve their arrows," he said.

The 2005-2006 school term began Monday at the Deaf and Blind School and Haines has already started introducing his students to the basics of archery until the equipment arrives.

"Right now we are trying to work on conditioning and getting the students back into shape after all summer. In between this, we are introducing archery to the students."

Haines believes archery is an "old sport with a lot of traditional history."

"It is such a neat sport that appeals to everyone and we know the students will really enjoy it, especially since we live in such an outdoors type of state where everyone likes to hunt and fish," he said.

According to Haines, approximately 20 deaf students will be taking part in the archery experience and use the equipment after it arrives.

"We are going to start teaching the kids in grades seven through 11 for about a four-week unit and see how that goes. We may teach it longer, but it all depends upon how quickly the students pick it up. We may teach the younger students depending on their maturity level and the size of the classes. We may even move on to see how we can adapt it to our blind students," he noted.

Archery in the Schools originated in 22 Kentucky schools in 2002 under the name of "On Target for Life," according to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Since then, the program has been instituted in more than 322 Kentucky Schools and 24 other states.

In the fall of 2004, the DNR implemented the program in 19 schools in the Mountain State and now nearly 50 schools have received the required Level 1 certification which is required to participate.

To earn his certification, Haines attended a two-day training course at Preston County High School in the summer.

"I won't be surprised if a lot more schools don't decide to take part in it," he commented.

Students will also be able to take part in a statewide archery tournament to be held in either February or March.

"We have had archery as part of our curriculum in the past, but not at this level, and the opportunity for students to participate side-by-side with other students at a statewide archery tournament in the future makes it that much better. My students can't wait and I would like to personally thank the NWTF and the WVDNR for making this happen," Haines said.

© The News Tribune