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TUCSON, AZ –As the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) prepares for the largest national tournament in history, it announced another historical landmark. NASP and the Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) announced that 250-350 educators each year will be trained as archery instructors through SCIF’s American Wilderness Leadership School near Jackson, Wyoming.

“This will be the largest single source of new National Archery in the Schools instructors,” said NASP’s Roy Grimes, who has been working closely with SCIF Education Director Sue Hankner to launch the historic initiative.

SCIF President Merle Shepard said: “SCI Foundation understands that archery helps students improve lifelong skills like concentration, self-control, discipline and dedication, while it also introduces them to the fun of the shooting sports.”

NASP’s growth has been historic, according to NASP’s Tom Bennett, who was involved in the program’s 2002 birth in 21 Kentucky elementary, middle and high schools. NASP has expanded to 5,000 schools and one million students per year in the U.S. and four other countries.

He said last year’s national tournament included 2,870 participants, “a world record at the time.” The 2009 national tournament, May 8-9 in Louisville, was prepared for 3,840 participants, said Grimes and Bennett, but more than 4,890 students have signed up to shoot. They compete for national honors and $14,000 in college scholarships, which includes funding from SCIF.

Safari Club chapters nationwide are being encouraged to help outfit their local schools with the NASP equipment package, including Genesis one-size-fits-all-bows, targets, arrows, indoor netting and accessories. School archery and after-school archery club donations qualify for SCIF matching funds, according to SCIF guidelines.  Some SCI chapters already have received matching funds to lead the way in their community to establish school archery programs.  Donations from outside sources can often be matched with SCI funds for these chapter projects.  To learn more contact Sue Hankner at shankner@safariclub.org.

The SCI Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization that funds and manages worldwide programs dedicated to wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian services, including such programs as Sportsmen Against Hunger, Sensory Safari, SafariCare, Disabled Hunter and the American Wilderness Leadership School.  Call 877-877-3265 or visit www.safariclubfoundation.org for more.