If you’re 15 or older and enjoy archery, you can become certified as a Level 1 archery instructor through USA Archery to teach the sport at summer camps and events for Scouting, 4-H, and parks and recreation departments.
Marcel Nietlisbach, 20, studies economics and shoots archery at Texas A&M. He’s shot archery for five years and taught archery at Camp Hazen in Connecticut in Summer 2013. Here, he talks about life as a camp archery instructor, and why more people should teach the sport.
What do you like about teaching at archery camp?
Teaching at camp is much different than teaching archery to experienced archers because it’s purely focused on having fun. I loved being able to loosen up and play fun archery games. Some days we would tape fruits to the targets and tell the kids, “If you hit one we will eat it,” or we would do pushups if they hit a 9 or 10. This really made class fun for me and the kids.
Why should other people enjoy being archery camp instructors?
Instructing archery at a camp brings you into contact with so many potential archers, and is such a rewarding experience. The more kids who know how to continue their archery career outside of camp, the better. Coaching archery and bringing new archers into the sport is a great feeling. I loved knowing I made a difference my students’ lives.
Kids always asked me about ranges besides the camp range. Competitive archers can point them in the right direction or even offer to be their coach. These kinds of camp programs could be a great way to get kids into archery, but only if the instructors are aware of how to get involved.The more archers we get into these camp positions the better!
What inspired you to teach archery at camp?
Seeing Teresa Johnson coach our team was my inspiration. For many kids, Teresa was a huge factor in their decision to compete in archery. I wanted to bring more people into the sport, and camp archery seemed like a great way to do this. I was also privately coaching an archer from my town at this time and really enjoyed it.
How many students do you teach?
Classes were anywhere from 10 to 20 kids, and they ranged in age from 8 to 15. Kids went through a few days of archery class to get the feel for the sport. Each day had a different lesson. For example, the first day was always about safety and no arrows were shot.
What is a typical day like in the life of an archery camp instructor?
At Camp Hazen, each instructor had a cabin of eight kids. Each day we’d wake up our kids, take them to breakfast, and then go to three classes. I most often taught at the archery range or skate park, but the kids also played tennis, soccer and basketball. After our morning classes we had lunch and then two more classes.
What do your students say when they try archery?
The kids’ reactions were mixed and mostly depended on the weather. If it was hot outside, even the kids who loved archery were unwilling. Usually the whole class felt the same way. Either most of them liked it or didn’t. A lot of it depended on the age group, too. Younger kids almost always loved it, and archery was one of their favorite activities. A lot of the older kids, especially the girls, didn’t want to participate. For the ones who enjoyed archery, that’s all they wanted to do. Some would ask to be put in back-to-back archery classes throughout the day, and some would be at the skate park, begging me to let them go back to archery class.
How to get certified
USA Archery outlines the requirements forLevel 1 archery certification:
- Course content: Range safety, range set-up, basic archery equipment setup and repair, and how to teach the basic steps of shooting a bow.
- Length of Course: 4 to 12 hours
- Prerequisites**: Minimum age: 15
- Course Cost: Varies depending on instructor
- Certification period: Three years
- Any Level 1 Instructor who wants individual insurance coverage will need to apply for a Range Pass (see Range Pass prerequisites above).
- Level 1 Course is not required to attend the Level 2 Course