The X Files JOAD Newsletter of the NAA The X Files JOAD Newsletter of the NAA

The X FILES: The U.S. NAA JOAD Newsletter
Issue 5
Nov 7, 2003

Hi !

In this newsletter:
FOCUS ON A JOAD: SureShot Archery JOAD


The X Files' primary focus is to inform and educate JOAD archers, Parents and JOAD volunteers about archery and running a successful JOAD program.

To best meet this goal, we want to, we need to, hear from you! We welcome guest columnists and want more articles and ideas on JOAD fundraising, structure, and member acquisition. So if you've had a successful new member campaign, or if your club is good at raising funds, please let us know. Conversely, if there's a subject that you'd like to read about or if there is a question you'd like answered -- let us know and we'll do our best to get the answers for you.

Each issue we try to feature a JOAD club and/or a JOAD archer. If you would like your club or one of your members to be profiled in a future X Files issue, please drop me a line.

As the year-end approaches we'd like to hear about any community service or archery-service programs and JOAD holiday parties. Is your club sponsoring a child for Christmas? What service project do you have planned? Do you have any cool holiday party plans? Our club is having a "shoot the moon" party this Saturday for the eclipse.... and a Christmas party later on. At our club Christmas party, JOAD members will bring presents for the club to help restock our supply of finger tabs, arm guards and arrows etc. What games and ideas do you have for your holiday archery get-togethers? Please take a moment NOW to share them with us.

Our guest authors this month are well known in archery and we're glad to have them contribute these insightful articles. We hope you, our readers, will enjoy this informative issue and we welcome your feedback.

In closing, it is with great sadness that we must report the passing of Adam Wheatcroft, the archer we are profiling in this issue. Adam was a wonderful inspiration to many young JOAD archers and champion up until his death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Linda O'Connor
Parent of Maggie O'Connor, 14 year old archer and member of the Nockbusters JOAD Club in Fayetteville, Georgia
Communications Director for the Georgia Archery Association
Hospitality Chair 2004 JOAD Nationals

A.Ron Carmichael, aka TexARC
Disabled Archery, USA

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One of the proposals submitted to the Board of Governors meeting by the JOAD Committee was a proposal to standardize the JOAD Camp program. Currently there is not a specific schedule or goals and objectives for JOAD camps. The agenda and the information covered are up to the coaches who are running the camp. Therefore, some camps are excellent; some are not. There is also no way to objectively measure whether or not the camps are beneficial, or whether or not the campers learn anything. Campers who attend more than once may receive the same information each time. It's also probable that one camp will have campers who are just starting to shoot and campers who are advanced shooters. It is almost impossible to meet the needs of both groups of campers.

The Committee proposed that JOAD camps be divided into three levels: bronze, silver, and gold, with requirements for attending each camp. Each camp will build on the skills of the previous level, and will hopefully lead to more advanced skills, and yet maintain a positive experience.

Following is a short description of the camps. Most of the format and the information to be covered is still in the working stage, and we'd welcome information and suggestions from campers, coaches, and parents. Because so much of it is in the beginning stages, I'm including some information from the proposal. There are several areas where there is more than one option. If you think one option would be better than another, please let one of the JOAD Committee members know, and let them know your reasons also.

Description of Camps

Qualifications (must be 13 for all, and have their own equipment)
Bronze camp – outdoor shooting experience recommended
Silver camp – minimum score at outdoor tournament, one JOAD Olympian ranking
Gold camp - minimum score at outdoor tournament, both JOAD Olympian rankings

There are two possibilities for the general format of camp. For format 1, all three camps would be held at the same time with the campers divided into the appropriate groups. Coaches and a manager would be assigned to each group. For format 2, each camp would be held at a separate time. The format to be used for 2004 will be determined after consultation with the ATC and the CDC, and a determination of what space is available and when it is available. It will also be possible (and hopefully probable) for Bronze camps to be held on a regional basis.

The Coach's Development Committee (CDC) would assign two coaches for each camp. A manager/team leader would also be appointed. The CDC would also appoint two other assistant coaches. These two assistant coaches would be coaches who are not in the Team Coach Development Program. They would pay their own travel; room and board would be covered by the NAA. The assistant coaches would help with things such as videotaping, going to weight training, supervising other activities. They would have the chance to work alongside the National Coaches and improve their own skills. As this idea has been mentioned to Level 2 coaches there has been a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of interest.

Skills to be covered
Specific skills would be covered at each level; building on the previous levels. An evaluation system will be developed to track improvement and show that the camps are beneficial.
This is a proposed list of skills:
Bronze level: basic form, equipment assessment and selection, video taping and analysis, beginning mental skills, stretching programs, and cardio. training, injury prevention
Silver level: form & execution, equipment and tuning, problem identification and solving, more mental skills, dealing with pressure, strength training
Gold level: drills and skills for OR and match rounds, equipment tuning and fine tuning, advanced cardio. and mental skills, communication, team work

PLEASE write to your representative with your suggestions, thoughts, ideas, and comments on all of this. You can help to shape the future!
WestTed Harden
EastCindy Bevilacqua
NorthEva Fuller
SouthJim Krueger
Athlete RepresentativeKevin Eldredge
National CoordinatorRandi Smith

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Lancaster donated $150 worth of archery gear to the two lucky JOAD archers, and an additional $100 to their two JOAD clubs.
The rules said that each JOAD club could submit the name of one male and one female JOAD archer, the most improved archers from their JOAD club, and we would draw one from each gender for the giveaway by Lancaster. As reported in an earlier issue of the X Files
(click here to review that article), two lucky archers were selected by drawing, and we wanted you to see the gear they chose from Lancaster.

Here is the info on the WINNERS, and what they chose. The male archer was Peter Noble of Aslan Archers JOAD.Peter spent his prize money on a Aurora Big Techno red quiver and then put the remainder of his money towards the purchase of a Bushnell Spacemaster Scope. Peter's JOAD club spent their $50.00 on target faces for the club..

Brianna Dempe was the female archer to win and she has chosen a wealth of accessories

  • CAVALIER ELITE FINGER TAB (Cordovan) Right Hand Medium

Brianna's JOAD club, Falcon Archers, is located in Cecil Township, PA, USA. Established in 1955, the
Falcon Archers has been a successful club producing several high ranking State and National Archers. They have yet to spend their $50.00 at Lancasters.

Lancaster Archery is the largest on-line archery store in the US and supports JOAD clubs with JOAD club discounts and very competitive pricing.

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Four Things That Will Help Take Your Child to the Next Level in the Sport of Archery
by Robert Romero

Level 4E National Coach
I have been asked to write an article regarding a speech I made at last years Jr. National Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio. At that time I had only hoped this talk would not fall on deaf ears as do many speeches. Little did I realize that what I was saying would touch so many nerves. I began to get positive feedback almost immediately, such as “ It’s about time somebody had the courage to talk about this” or, “I have felt this way for a long time”.

What I spoke of was four things to do that would help take your child to the next level.

  1. Hydration and Nutrition
Keep your child properly hydrated and fed. I discussed that if you are either hungry or thirsty you probably have gone to long with out food or water and this may be affecting your child’s performance. As support for your child you should take along a cooler with drinks that don’t contain sugar. Water may or may not be provided on the field. You should take along crackers or bagels or some other complex carbohydrate. Fruit, vegetables and cheese are another suggestion. I often hear the child say, “ I'm getting real hungry”. The response is “Wait till you finish this distance and we will go get lunch”. The athlete’s performance will undoubtedly suffer if they get to this point.

2. Fitness
To be on a Jr. USAT you have to pass a fitness test. This test requires being able to run about 5 and ¾ laps around a 400m track in 12 minutes or less which puts you in the fair category. Studies have shown that strong core muscles [abs, hamstring, quadriceps and gluteus} help in our sport. I have found that archers that attend a JOAD camp generally can't pass the test whereas Jr. USAT members usually do pass the test. I suggest testing on a regular basis at least once a month. Good physical fitness helps in all aspects of life.

3. Spotting arrows and setting sights
One of the most important things you can do is to teach your child to spot their own arrows from the shooting line. I know that it helps pass the time for the observer but turning back to look at the parent to find out where the arrow landed should not be part of the archer's shot routine. This can lead to miscommunication and frustration for both parties. Having different colored nocks on hand helps eliminate confusion if your archer's target mate should have the same colored nocks.

Teach your child to adjust their own sight. Many youngsters fear moving the sight settings. Have them hold on the edge of the yellow and shoot an arrow. Move the sight over one click at a time; shoot an arrow until they know how much it takes to move the sight from one side of the yellow to the other.

If your child is physically able to adjust their sight and spot their own arrows I highly recommend they be taught this as soon as possible.

4. Form and execution vs. score
I can not say enough about the importance of teaching your child that proper shot execution is far more important than keeping track of the score. Focus on shot routine will lead to higher scores. Scores are important but when a child is obsessed with score it is very difficult to get them to understand that the game is played at the line not at the target. Practice the parts of the game rather than just shooting scores all the time.

The most important thing a parent can do is to praise the child and focus on what they are doing right. Often I hear a response like “What did you do wrong when you shot that 6” whereas a better response might be “Great shot on that ten”. A misplaced shot will happen to all archers, forget about it and move on to preparing the next shot. Staying in the present is a necessity to having a successful outing whether it is practice or tournament. Teach your child to stay positive and to keep those around them positive. As a parent/coach to my son I said things to him at times that I feel eventually drove him from the sport. My expectations of him were different than those of himself. Talk this out with your child and set some short term and long term goals that you both agree upon.

I know that there are many other things to do to move to the next level but hopefully these words will make the process better and more fun for you and your child.

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Here are 10 questions and answers from Linda Misenheimer.

1.When did you become involved with the NAA?
Wyatt and I had been involved in the 4-H program for over 10 years in Texas and New Mexico. The little local club I became coordinator for suddenly grew in size and desire to do everything! One of those areas was shooting sports/archery. Wyatt and Jake had been shooting together, so when Wyatt became the project leader we thought there should be something more formal than shooting old couches in the mesa. We ran into Bob Romero at a 3-D shoot and he introduced us to JOAD archery. At that time there was one struggling group that was only shooting within their shop. So we re-started the NM Roadrunners in the Fall of 1997 and became level II coaches.

2.What made you decide to be a judge? We were catapulted into the JOAD program and went to our first National tournament as many parents do....totally unprepared. It was fun and luckily a very sweet archer, Johnna Davis, took Jake under her wing and the experience was eye opening rather than frustrating. It became obvious we needed to know the rules better. With no judges in NM to learn from it became a move with a double pay off. NM got two judges for their tournaments, and we learned the rules so we could properly prepare our archers for competition.

3.What do you like best about being a judge? I like to try to make the experience a little nicer for all those new archers, especially the little kids, and having things as fair as possible for the older kids.

4.What do you like the least about being a judge? I get very nervous when I can't get the show on the road and have the tournament run on time and smoothly. That's when you'll find me setting targets or putting up faces, or running around just doing whatever I can think of to speed things up.

5.What would you tell new archers about the rules? First, get with your coach and learn as much as you can about the competition you are going to be competing in. Get with a judge and ask if you have questions, we are there to help in any way possible. If something goes wrong remember that is part of the game, and not to let it affect your remaining shots......yes, easier said than done. Sometimes it takes a while to work out the problem, as an archer you must remain focused.

6.What about the dress code? The dress code always seems to be an issue. I can tell you it is nice to look down the line and see the archers dressing respectfully for the sport they love. There would have to be a line drawn somewhere, or archers would be showing up in dirty, ripped up, tacky clothes. No matter where the line is drawn there will be those who will challenge it. The dress code is not that restrictive, go with the flow. For those few who have not shot NAA before, I feel bad about disturbing their game by having to enforce the dress code. That's why I make it a point to tell everyone at practice, and I make silly signs and such prior to the competition.

7.How do you become a judge? Anyone can become a judge. First you have to let Tom Green know, and he will hook you up with some local judges. You have to buy a FITA rule book and read and read and read. Then you have to discuss the rules with other judges for in addition to there being lot of rules specific to indoor, outdoor , or field archery, a lot of the rules originated from specific situations, and so it is the intent of the rule. Once you understand the history of the rule it makes everything so much clearer. You will work at the local level, then take a test. It's an open book test to see if you can find the info in the rule book to back up your answers. They also want to see how you would deal with the gray areas. You would become a State Judge, then take another test to become a Regional Judge. There are forms to fill out of the tournaments you judged, clinics you attended, and case studies of weird problems that happen. Plus you get evaluated at each National Tournament you work. After 2 years as a Regional judge, working as DOS and COJ at major events, then you take a closed book test to become a National Judge.

8.What level of Judge are you? I just became a National Judge in Denver.

9.What events do you like to judge the most? I like the JOAD competitions. I like to feel I make a difference. If I can be the one to be sure my archers understand the rules, hear the announcements, are as prepared as possible, then I feel good. I think every event should be a learning experience for the parents and the kids. I take it as my personal mission to make sure every archer is treated fair.

10.Any last bits of advice? Jake is here, he said to remind you... if you shot another archer make sure it's within the 3 meter line so you can reshoot your arrow........

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The wildfire near ARCO (the Olympic Training Facility in Chula Vista, CA) was called the OTAY fire, due to the name of the area (and the lake beside ARCO - Otay Lake) and the flames came amazingly close. The grounds were evacuated of archers. You can see pictures taken from the facility of the hillside across the lake and from orbit as well. is a resident athlete at ARCO and has written a travelogue about the event. ARCO escaped damage, but a layer of fine grey-white ash covered everything.
Chris Shull is one of the best recurve archers in the US and is a resident athlete at the ARCO facility. He happily takes time from his training to work with the many groups of kids from San Diego schools that take field trips to ARCO - his archery presentations really get them involved and entertained. He wrote us with some information on the fire:

Chris writes: "We had a USAT camp the weekend the fires started, and I got up at 4:30 in the morning on Sunday to take a few people to the airport. Being up so early I thought I would see the sun come up by the airport, but it never did! The sky was sooooo thick it looked like nuclear winter. You could stare right at the sun and all you saw was a little red dot. It wasn't pitch black, but it was like an eclipse. I actually had a triathlon to do that morning and I just about choked to death on all the soot in the air. I parked my car for a few hours during the race and it was covered in white ash. The entire city smelled like a campfire.

After I finished my race I drove back down to the OTC, and it was actually sunny that morning. The fire that burned up next to the training center had just started that morning and had not created too much smoke down south. I sat and ate lunch while I watched the smoke creep closer, eventually watching the first flames come up over the top of Mount Otay, just east of the lake by the OTC (ed:see the photo above and use the link in the photo for more). After we saw flames the OTC made us pack up and leave, but the fire was all the way down the side of the mountain, almost to the lake, by the time we were ready to head out. It had spread half a mile in about an hour and a half! All the heavy winds just drove it westward.
They let us back into the Training Center on Thursday, 5 days later but the place still smells a bit like smoke. Everything should be better after a few days with new air conditioner filters."

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The TSAA's sub-web at carries everything we can think of for the JOAD archer, the JOAD parent, and the JOAD coach instructors. The FAQ is specifically for parents, but any newbie archer will find useful information in the 26 or so pages of this free document.

I have added a metric & temperature conversion utility to help you figure out whatever distance in whatever form you are most comfortable with. Go to this link to see it in action.

There are currently more than FIFTY JOAD CLUBS LISTED from around the U.S. in the JOAD FINDER DATABASE. It's free. You can create your own entry! Parents can search by state and find the closest JOAD to their home.

For 4-H chapters around the country, Norm Boyd has created a Division Chart with great color coding that makes it easier for parents and new archers to figure out divisions. He also created an Excel SPREADSHEET for tournament results which makes it easier for me to post 4-H tourney results as pages on the site. ALL OF THESE are available to you for free on the 4-H page, clickable from the JOAD main page (hint: check the links in the lefthand yellow border of the page)

A.Ron Carmichael, aka TexARC,

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ADAM WHEATCROFT of Clarkston,MI, a two-time national archery champion and former Junior World Archery Champion from Brandon Township, died Monday, October 27, 2003 at Harper Hospital in Detroit after battling cancer. He was 21.

Adam graduated in 2000 from Our Lady of the Lakes High School in Waterford. He had been attending James Madison University in Virginia for the past three years studying Sports Management. Adam was a two time Junior World Archery Champion and a World University Champion. Along with numerous other titles, he had been a member of the US Archery Team every year since age 15 and had broken seven Junior World Records. He was also a member of the Oakland County Sportsmens Club.

Despite his numerous accomplishments, Adam Wheatcroft remained modest. "He was a gracious winner and a gracious loser," said his mother, Lynette Wheatcroft. "He just never bragged about himself."

A 2000 graduate of Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, Mr. Wheatcroft was named Junior World Archery Champion in Sweden during his junior year. In May of this year, as a junior at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., he won the men's compound bow national championship for the second time in three years.

Mr. Wheatcroft also broke world records in the 70-meter and 90-meter events and for his total overall score at the Junior World Trials at Salt Lake City in 1998.

"He just had a lot of natural ability when it came to archery," said Lynette Wheatcroft of her son, who started shooting about age 7. "He didn't practice as much as you'd think he did. It just came to him naturally." Mr. Wheatcroft also belonged to two bowling leagues and rolled a 300 game this spring. He also liked to hunt and was a member of the Oakland County Sportsmen's Club."He just liked sports of any kind, especially football and basketball. He was majoring in sports management" at James Madison, where he was in his senior year, Lynette Wheatcroft said.

Mr. Wheatcroft was diagnosed with brain cancer in May roughly one week after being crowned with his second national championship. He was operated on six days later, then underwent 14 rounds of brain radiation to remove tumors. Initially, he recovered enough to play golf and attend Detroit Tigers baseball games with his father and a few archery tournaments, his mother said.

Earlier this month, the discovery of cancer on his spine led doctors to issue a prognosis of one to three months. He died a week later.

Lynette Wheatcroft said her son never once complained about his plight. "He was just an overall good person and everybody loved him," she said. "Just an easygoing person and a good kid." Adam is survived by his parents, Lynette and Rob, of Brandon Township.

Memorial donations may be made to the James Madison University Foundation Archery, 1210 Edgewood Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22801.
Parts of this message are ©The Oakland Press 2003

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Coaching a Combined 4H and JOAD Club
Anita Krueger

Jim and I coach both a local 4H archery club and a JOAD program in Texas. Because of this, we have received a lot of questions about how we managed to merge the two. To answer this, first let me give you an overview of our environment and a quick history of our state JOAD program for the last decade.
We are fortunate to be in one of the most active areas in the USA for 4H archery programs. There are ten very active 4H archery clubs on the Texas gulf coast. In the fall, it is not unusual to have eight 4H archery tournaments, each with 100 plus competitors. The number of competitors and clubs makes us a very strong bargaining group within the Texas Shooting Sports community.
As little as 10 years ago, the JOAD program in Texas was very small. At the Indoor Nationals in 1990, there were about a dozen kids in all age groups. Four of which were from out of state. In 2002, there were 124 entries in the NAA youth and JOAD portion of the tournament at College Station.
The reason for the phenomenal change in JOAD participation is mainly due to the adaptations in the Texas 4H program. These were brought about by some of the 4H leaders and coaches from the gulf coast area. Ben Dybala, Tom Barker, Jim Krueger and myself recognized the disparity between the 4H archery program and the JOAD program and made suggestions on ways to bring the 4H program more in alignment with JOAD.
Today’s Texas 4H program is the foremost 4H archery program in the nation. Dr.
Ron Howard, the Texas State 4H director, has been very instrumental in moving the changes forward. Most states look to Ron for information and recommendations on improving or changing their archery programs.
4H Program Organization
All 4-H shooting activity is done after school and usually the whole family is involved.  Parents help with the different projects as leaders.  Jim and I are the project leaders for archery and our archers come from four different 4-H clubs and two different school districts. At the first 4-H meeting of the year, each family indicates on their forms which activities or projects they are interested in participating. The choices include archery, horticulture, raising animals, food and nutrition, clothing, and many others. They are then told who to contact for that activity and for archery I am the contact. When they call, I put them on a weekly practice schedule.  I see all beginners twice a week in small groups (4-6 kids).  Jim mainly works with the experienced archers once a week in small groups (no more than 6 in a group).  We spend about eight hours a week in practice sessions.  Then we have our weekly 4H archery meeting where archers shoot for their rank.   We do not charge the kids dues to participate; however, they must buy their own arrows, tab and armguard after the second week of practice
The 4H Archery season runs September through December.
The divisions are as follows:
  1. Clovers – 5-7 year olds. Shoot 15 arrows at 9 meters.
  2. Sub-juniors -- 8-12 year olds.  There are three divisions of skill levels in the sub-junior group:
  • Beginners shoot 30 arrows at 9 meters
  • Intermediates shoot 30 arrows at 18 meters
  • Advanced Sub-juniors shoot 60 arrows at 18 meters.
  1. Juniors 13-14 year olds – Shoot regular JOAD rounds and distances
  2. Seniors 15-18 year olds – Shoot regular JOAD rounds and distances
Follow this link to see a color chart of the 4H shooting divisions
4H Tournaments
One of the main differences between 4H tournament archery and JOAD tournament archery is the fact that boys and girls are not in separate divisions in 4H competitions. The girls shoot head to head with the boys. In addition, the 4H tournaments include Field, Clout and 3D archery. Each state with a shooting program has a state championship tournament and teams are chosen from the top competitors. These archers represent the state at the 4H National Shooting Tournament. The national 4H archery tournament had 84 archers from 19 states participated in 2003. They are adding both compound and recurve teams in 2004. Previously it was a mixed team, two compounds and two recurves.
Texas Archery Association Support
The Texas Archery Association is very accommodating and allows 4H members to compete in all state tournaments and events witho
ut being a NAA member. This lets young archers "try out" competition for a season before they join the NAA. At the state and national levels 4Her’s try out JOAD distances in a half FITA (18 arrows at each distance). Sub-juniors shoot 30, 25, 25, and 20 meters. Juniors shoot 50, 40, 30, and 20 meters. Seniors shoot 60, 50, 40, and 30 meters (Archer distances).
The Texas 4H program is growing and currently there are approximately 200 archers in the 4H districts in Texas. In our club we have 15 beginners (first season in archery) and 22 advanced archers.
JOAD Program
JOAD Indoor Season/Program -- January – March
JOAD Outdoor Program – April until the Outdoor Nationals.
The 4H clubs serve as a talent pool for JOAD program and usually 50% of the 4Hers move into the JOAD program. To participate in the JOAD program, archers must:
-- Have their own equipment
-- Join the NAA
-- Commit to shooting at least one Indoor and one Outdoor tournament.
-- Practice

Requiring the JOAD members to commit to shooting at least one tournament helps our coaches spend as much time as possible with only those kids that will be competing. We are a competitive JOAD and several of our archers shoot at national events and place in the top 20 each year. Some have also gone on to compete at the college level and internationally as well.
We like all of our 4H archery leaders to have a NAA certificate; however, it is not required by 4H. The state 4H has workshops around the state and offer the NAA level
1 at many of the workshops. One or two leaders a year also are sent to a national camp and get their level 2 certificates there.
To manage the programs, we have an adult non-profit booster club. This club provides the finances and purchases much of the equipment needed for both programs. Our fundraisers are 4H tournaments, raffles, and JOAD tournaments. We usually do one or two fundraisers a year. This year we will do a raffle and a JOAD outdoor tournament in the Spring.
As you can see, the affiliation between the 4H organization and the NAA JOAD program in Texas has been great. That has been due in part to the Texas 4H program and the Texas State Archery Association. If you're interested in starting a 4H/JOAD program in your state or area,
contact your county Agricultural Cooperative Extension office (4H). The county extension service should know of all of the resources available; however, if that is unsuccessful, contact the Agricultural Extension Service for your state. Also, states with 4H shooting programs usually have a state 4H shooting sports coordinator. As a last resort, you may contact Ron Howard, the Texas 4H Shooting Sports Coordinator at
Anita and Jim's club, Tiger Sharks, is located 4 miles north of Blessing, Texas. It is a rural area on the gulf coast, and their archers come from two different school districts. Anita and Jim own Krueger Archery Supplies. Their sons are Greg, Guy, and Garrett. They all shoot archery and help their parents with coaching. Anita teaches fourth grade and serves on many community service projects. Jim is the NAA South Region JOAD Coordinator and the current President of the Texas State Archery Association.
Here is the link to the Texas 4H website , here is the link to the National 4H website and here is the link to most states 4H web sites

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We are hearing from various JOAD coaches that they have experienced growth in numbers in recent times.We'd like to get a better idea of just how much growth is occurring.
Please send an email to let us know how your JOAD is doing, and we will compile the reports into an article in an upcoming X Files issue. Of course, we also want to know HOW you achieved the growth in your club - what factors played the biggest role? We want your thoughts!

Use this link and tell us about it! (More info is better than less info).Pics are ALWAYS welcome!

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FOCUS ON A JOAD: SureShot Archery JOAD

SureShot Archery JOAD, A Brief History
by Edward Vargas, JOAD Director

HUMBLE, TX – SureShot Archery JOAD began as a dream years before the club was actually formed. I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn't know exactly how to go about doing it. I wanted not only to teach kids to shoot a bow, but also to hopefully share with them the love that I have for this sport. However, when I put pen to paper and began to factor in the time and the money it would take to start and maintain a successful JOAD, I got scared. This was going to be a huge of a commitment. After sitting down with my wife and discussing the idea together, we came to the decision that this was something I just had to do. Once that first big decision was made, the rest was easy. Well, sort of.

The first thing I did was speak with the owner of the shop/range that I shoot at to explain the idea to him. I was not sure if he would like to have a class full of excited kids with bows in his shop, but he went for the idea. My next step was to get my Level 1 certification. Getting my Level 1 was the most beneficial thing I could ever have done. Until then, I knew what I was doing, but I had never been taught how to teach it to a child that may never have held a bow before in their life. The concept and the thought process were completely new to me.
After getting my Level 1, I began buying bows, arrows and all equipment a beginner would need. I decided that I would provide all the equipment kids would need to start taking lessons, because most parents would not have the faintest idea of what to buy. It can be difficult at its best and frustrating at its worst if you do not have the proper equipment to learn with. Frustration because of improper equipment as a child is trying to learn a new sport will only push that child away. Now I was ready to start taking on some private lessons to bring in a little money to help pay for all this stuff I had bought.
The entire time, I was reading my JOAD handbook and contacting as many people as I could and reading as many web pages as I could find to get as much information as possible on running a JOAD. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into when I started all this.
The time had come, though. I had set the summer of 2003 as the beginning of SureShot Archery JOAD. I designed a brochure and printed them out on my computer. I had signs made. I put them up around town. And I waited. Within days I started to get calls and mailing brochures. Before I knew it, I had two full classes and one with a hand full of kids.
I really did not know what I was doing, but I never let that stop me before. I was not about to let that stop me now.
I will admit that I made a lot of mistakes with my first group of kids, but I let them, and their parents, know that I was learning how to teach as they were learning how to shoot. I did the very best that I could do.
That first Summer Session went very well. There were 24 kids in SureShot Archery JOAD and there were more people calling for information every week. At the start of the Fall Session we lost about half of our kids to other sports, but we were still able to fill three classes. We meet on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., and on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and at 4:30 p.m. Hopefully we will add a forth class in the Spring Session.
The JOAD club dues are $5 per child per year and the class fees are $10 per week. I ask that the entire session be paid in full by the first class. The fees for the sessions (Fall, Spring, Summer) depend on the number of available weeks, based on the local school calendar. So far the prices have been: $100 for the summer (10 weeks), $120 for the Fall (12 weeks), and $160 for the Spring (16 weeks).

My private lessons are $25 for the session. I base the length of the session on the child. Some kids go for 45 minutes before they get tired, some can go for an hour and a half. During the private lessons, I don't make a child shoot for a predetermined amount of time. I try to teach them as much as I can, and as much as they are able to learn, before they get tired. Once they are tired, I end the shooting so they don't begin developing bad habits that I will have to try and break latter.

The Club meets three times a week: Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and at 4:30 p.m. I ask that parents choose one class time and stick to that one class time for the entire session. I hope to add a forth class time in the Spring. I haven't decided on the day or time yet, however, it will probably be Thursday at 6:30 p.m. That is still tentative. I'm hoping that this fourth class will be my Tournament Team Class, but that is also tentative. Our Club my still be too young for that as only three of my kids have expressed interest in competition outside of class so far.

Currently there are 30 kids in the club. Two shoot compound bows, three shoot barebow recurve, 25 shoot Olympic style recurve, and most are NAA members. All have at least one qualification patch, most have multiple qualification patches.
I try to keep my classes fun and focused on the kids. They are the ones I am trying to reach. They are the reason I am there. If they are not learning and enjoying themselves while they are with me, then I am doing something wrong.
The way I run my classes is pretty simple. First I limit my class size to 10 kids. That gives me enough time to spend a few minutes with each one during the 1-hour I have them each week. Safety and proper behavior on the range are stressed at each class, and all my kids know the whistle system. Then I try to come up with shooting games to break up the usual target practice at paper targets.
I let them shoot at little water balloons that I fill (with air) and pin in clusters of 3-4 to the center of their targets. I use water balloons because they are very small and when I blow them up they are so tight my little 6- and 7-year-olds using their 15# bows can pop them without having to have a perfect hit. I have actually seen arrows bounce off large balloons that were not blown up all the way. If you have ever seen a child struggle to hit a balloon only to have the arrow bounce off, you will understand. They also play tic-tac-toe on a board I draw on the back of a 60cm target. I tape balloons to the center of the squares so they have something to aim at. It helps. We also have 3D animal at the range that they like to shoot. They put balloons all over them, of course. We also have a variety of dog toys that are popular targets (foam balls, rubber ‘sumo penguins,’ etc.). I also have other ideas for games that I have not tried yet.
And coincidentally, all the non-conventional targets they like to shoot just happen to be about the same size, or even smaller than, the gold rings on a 60cm target. Just do not tell them that!
Every month we also have a scoring round where they get the chance to advance in the JOAD rankings. I usually take the ‘toys’ away the week before the scoring round so they focus more on hitting the gold as opposed to hitting the ‘toys.’ Scouring rounds are run very formally. Two 6-arrow practice ends, followed by ten 3-arrow scoring ends, for a total of 30 scoring arrows. The older kids score their own targets and fill in their own score cards just as they would at a tournament. The younger kids call their scores and I fill in their score cards. Immediately after we are done, I make a big deal about giving the qualifiers their patches. The next week I make a big deal when I present them with their certificates.
The bottom line is, I try to keep the classes fun and focused on my kids.

Mr. Vargas is an NAA Certified Level II coach. SureShot Archery JOAD meets at, and is sponsored by, Wolverine Hunting and Archery, located at 20124 Canterbury Lane, in Porter, Texas. Together Mr. Vargas and Mr. John Hartline, owner of Wolverine Hunting and Archery, have made the investment in all the equipment the children will need to begin participating in the JOAD program.
If you have any questions about SureShot Archery JOAD,
Mr. Vargas can be reached at (281) 728-6680.

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