There is a new organization (Scholastic 3-D Archery) that is on the verge of changing archery
forever. I predict it will increase archery participation and new bowhunters in a way that we’ve
never seen before. It will keep kids in target archery longer, continue to increase female
participation in hunting (the fastest growing component of hunting today), and be a huge boost in
after school hours participation.
Recently the Pope and Young Club became a major sponsor and they believe that Scholastic 3-D
Archery will provide “a clear path for kids” in getting them into the woods, bowhunting, and the
fun of archery. Other major sponsors are Cabelas Outdoor Fund and Bear Archery, but many
others are coming on board.
Scholastic 3-D Archery is a non-profit organization that fosters, educates, and guides youth in 3-
D archery through after school programs at schools, archery clubs, and dealers. It all started
when Jennie Richardson from Kentucky, who instigated the creation of the National Archery in
the Schools Program, realized that kids wanted to shoot 3-D animal targets, and wanted to do it
with compound and recurve bows. So three years ago she, along with others, began this
program. In January, there were clubs in two states. Today there are clubs in 23 states and more
are on the way. The growth has been exponential.
If a student participates in archery via the Archery in the Schools Program, 4-H, or Boy Scouts,
Scholastic 3-D is the next step. Kids can shoot their own bows, participate at grade school,
middle school, or high school levels, and have fun shooting bows. As Jennie Richardson states,
“Once these kids progress through the various introductory programs, they naturally want to
expand their knowledge of shooting styles and equipment. The all-inclusive mind set of S3DA
opens the door to the world of archery for these kids. The enthusiasm surrounding this program
is incredible to experience.”
If they so choose, and affiliate with a public school, then club members can compete not only as
individuals, but as a team representing their school. Clubs not affiliated with a school can only
compete as individuals. Public schools align with S3DA because it provides after school
activities. Clubs can be hosted by schools, sporting goods stores, churches, archery clubs,
whatever, and there is instructor training centering on safety and the fun of shooting bows and 3-
D animal targets.
One rapidly growing aspect of S3DA is in colleges providing archery scholarships. NAIA
smaller colleges and universities are using varsity archery teams as a way to help recruit
students. And they can create archery as a varsity sport because there is no worry about Title 9
issues. Women and men are found on S3DA teams.
At the S3DA National Tournament this spring, colleges gave participants $264,000 worth of
scholarships. Think about that. Shoot bows, have fun, and get scholarships to attend colleges.
And this was just the second year for a national tournament. Colleges are already lining up to
give more scholarships in 2016.
One aspect of S3DA that has not come to fruition yet is the initiation of high school archery as a
varsity sport. With the growing interest of colleges in recruiting young archers to their teams, it
is hoped that this will spur high schools to get S3DA going as a school sport.
One last word on this phenomenon. A quick study was done of students in archery clubs in Indiana where
83 percent of recent participants purchased hunting licenses. With hunter numbers on the decline, and
hunter dollars needed for wildlife management, S3DA could be a bell ringer for the future of hunting.