Archery is growing in popularity in Worthington's elementary
schools as students "aim for success" and try to stay "on
target for life."
Both slogans grace the T-shirts of Bluffsview Elementary
School's archery club as students there learn archery skills
and begin to compete at state and national levels.
What began as a unit in physical education has become
archery clubs at three Worthington elementary schools:
Bluffsview, Granby and Worthington Park.
The Worthington Archery Classic was held March 21 at Granby
Elementary School, during which the top 10 archers from each
school -- five boys and five girls -- competed.
Bluffsview's archers captured the top spot, winning the
Worthington Archery Classic Travelling Trophy, which will be
displayed at the school until next year's competition.
"We really emphasize striving for a personal best and
recognize it with a cheer and applause when it happens,"
said Ben Wilson, Bluffsview physical education teacher. "We
encourage students to simply strive to reach their full
potential and hope that lesson goes with them beyond
Wilson, along with Rick Armstrong from Granby and Jay Addy
from Worthington Park, attended a workshop held by the Ohio
Department of Natural Resources last school year and
received $1,000 grants to begin youth archery programs at
Each of the schools began archery clubs this year.
Wilson said life lessons, such as focus, precision,
consistency, self-control, self-evaluating, learning from
mistakes and having a positive attitude, are easily
integrated into archery.
"Something new we started a few weeks ago was to label a
vane or two on each arrow with a phrase or word representing
some area we want to be 'on target,' such as peer pressure,
respect for others, mental health, physical health or
sportsmanship," he said. "Along with occasional discussions
about being on target in these areas, the words are randomly
reinforced every time an arrow is shot."
Bluffsview's club is preparing for a national competition
May 14 and 15 in Louisville, Ky., after finishing seventh in
the Ohio National Archery in the Schools Program.
The state contest was held March 4 at Veterans Memorial as
part of the Arnold Sports Festival.
"It was a neat and memorable experience for our students,"
He said it was an all-day event, with 80 to 100 shooting
lanes set up to accommodate about 1,200 archers and 17
elementary schools, 17 middle schools and 21 high schools
"The wildlife officers we spoke to upon arrival were
somewhat surprised that a team from Worthington was
participating and felt strongly we were the first team from
Franklin County to participate in the five-year history of
the tournament," Wilson said.
He said team scores are calculated by adding the sum of the
12 archers from a team, with at least four of the top 12
scores required to be from each gender. Teams in the
elementary division could qualify by scoring a minimum of
"It's pretty neat that we were able to qualify in our first
year of participation," Wilson said. "It wasn't a goal of
ours; we just wanted to go out and have fun and try to do
the best we could."
Wilson said he introduced archery to his students in
physical education classes two years ago.
"The students absolutely loved it," he said. "It was great
to see some of the students who don't typically find
interest in traditional sports not only be interested, but
discover that they were good at the sport," he said.
He said the school's PTA helped by purchasing equipment, and
grants from the Worthington Education Foundation and a state
grant helped to establish the club.
"We planned to limit the club to the first 60 students, but
we had students literally lining up outside the gym door on
the morning enrollment began," he said. "I didn't have the
heart to turn students away, so we created another day to
accommodate the 81 students who wished to participate. It
Wilson said his assistant coach is Fred Friesen, whose "deep
archery background" has been an important part of the team's
Wilson said putting students in competitive situations can
"Our competitive situations are opportunities to see how our
best compares to that of others, so we don't shy away from
winning and losing," he said. "That's an important part of
"The idea of healthy competition is unfortunately getting
lost in a society that sometimes settles for, and even
rewards, mediocrity. In archery, just like in life, our
arrows and our choices have to be accepted, like it or not."