By Perry Smith
Through a partnership with Easton Sports Development Foundation, Lancaster Archery is fulfilling its mission of spreading support and resources for archery across the country, said Jared Weaver, sales manager for Lancaster Archery. “With us, it’s about improving the quality of the sport,” Weaver said. “We’re on board with (Easton Sports Development Foundation) wholeheartedly and we’re on board with whatever ventures they are involved in.”
Long an equipment destination for serious archers of all levels, the Pennsylvania-based Lancaster Archery also offers programs intended to help foster a new generation of archers through school partnerships supported by the Easton Foundations. Weaver has seen a rise in the sport’s popularity nationally with several high-profile media portrayals of archery, such as the “Hunger Games,” and it’s helped grow partnerships with schools like Rocky Heights Middle School in Colorado, which has the Nighthawk Archery program.
“Thanks to a generous grant from Easton Sports Development Foundation (ESDF) and Olympic Archery in Schools, we are the first middle school in Douglas County to develop an after-school Olympic style archery club,” according to the archery club’s website. With equipment from Weaver’s shop and support from the ESDF, the middle school is now a registered Junior Olympic Archery Development Club program with USA Archery and Colorado JOAD Club. The program means students involved with Nighthawk Archery are eligible to compete in JOAD competitions, as well as Olympic Archery in Schools competitions, which can mean opportunities for serious competition and potential scholarship opportunities for those who are successful. Rodney Graham and Dave Callaway are both teachers at Rocky Heights who became certified Level II archery instructors through USA Archery and the National Field Archery Association, and both coaches specialize in recurve archery. Their program emphasizes technique, safety and, of course, fun, they said.
La Jolla High School is another program supported by Lancaster Archery and the Easton Foundations, which is not far from the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. The school recently held a tournament for up-and-coming archers. While the cost of outfitting high-quality archery equipment can run into the thousands of dollars, retailers like Lancaster Archery who provide discounts to the OAS schools and generous grants from the Van Nuys-based Easton Sports Development Foundation, help keep the cost affordable. “We see ESDF as a huge part of archery right now — they’ve blessed the sport by being able to provide equipment,” he said, discussing how OAS Program Supervisor, Keaton Chia helped create a program and more equipment availability for students.
“Jim Easton’s goal is to support the sport and create opportunities for others to experience the challenge, enjoyment and satisfaction that can come from mastering a new sport,” said Kathy White, Easton’s executive assistant, “especially a family-oriented one that also offers fun and competition.”
In that respect, Lancaster Archery’s goals match up perfectly with ESDF’s, making for an ideal partnership, Weaver said. “Our goal is to grow and improve the sport of archery as a whole and to recruit new members to the sport, whether it’s youth, young adults — anybody really, we promote it as a family sport,” he said. “It’s also an individual sport, so each person is responsible for their own success, and it’s a great sport to support growth in kids, as well.”