Ready, Aim, Fire: JROTC adds archery to course

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AJ Summers, Features Writer

The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program hit the bullseye when the WSFCS school board approved the addition of archery for cadets this year.
The National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) has been working with JROTC for about five years. Recently, they have introduced archery to the fourth Brigade, the section that controls North Carolina. Schools across the state are now able to decide whether or not they want to implement archery as an extracurricular for JROTC students.
The instructors at West jumped on the opportunity to add archery to the program and began making plans and talking to their superiors.
“Our people at central office talked with the Superintendent’s office. They said “Okay, sure. Let’s do it,”” JROTC instructor Major Richard Sugg said.
While West’s JROTC program rushed to include archery, not many other schools in the district liked the idea.
“We are one of the first. There might be one or two other schools in the school district that will do it this year but we’re not sure yet,” JROTC instructor 1st Sergeant Roger Stewart said.
The West Forsyth archery team will also be able to compete on a much larger scale with so few teams currently competing in the district.
“I am excited for us to compete because of how few teams there will be in our regular league. We will begin almost immediately to compete state wide and with neighboring states,” Stewart said.
Not only that, but archery introduces new experiences and different skills then other activities in the JROTC program.
“I believe having an archery team is a good idea because the only thing we have close to it [archery] is the hunter safety team, but you have to provide your own resources. JROTC gives you those resources so that you can be on the [archery] team,” senior Cadet Captain Debi Weiser said.
The shooting range will be in the old gym before school and there will be many safety measures in place to prevent injury or harm. Over the summer, all JROTC instructors from the district had to complete training to get certified as basic archery instructors.
“There will be a safety backdrop, curtains and safety procedures on the range. Before anyone can start shooting arrows at the targets they’ll have to pass a little safety test and we’ll have constant supervision of certified personnel while on the range,” Sugg said.
Students who are choosing to do archery this year are very enthusiastic to have the opportunity to try something new.
“I have done a whole lot in the ROTC program that I feel excited for something new and fresh. I have been doing JROTC for four years so something new is really exciting,” Van Eaton said.
JROTC students are allowed to take more than one extracurricular. The schedules for those activities often conflict with each other since all training and competitions take place before school. Many don’t have the time to do them all.
“I currently don’t plan on taking archery only because I’m really focused on rifle team in JROTC. I’m the top shooter at West, and in the state of North Carolina, so my focus is really in rifle,” Weiser said.
Archery is expected to be a great addition for JROTC students this year. “We are looking forward to having our team join other teams in North Carolina and across the country that’s doing this,” Stewart said.