When practiced correctly, archery is fun, safe, and offers activities for everyone at any age and ability level. Across the nation multiple programs, supported by manufactures excise taxes, are expanding access to shooting sports at both the recreational and competitive level including the National Archery in Schools Program, 4H Shooting Sports, and hunter education courses. Adding to these resources, USA Archery has launched a new promotional campaign with Marvel Entertainment to grow the sport of archery through hands on clinics and social media content featuring superheroes and Olympians. The Archery is for Everyone! campaign, which is funded by a Multistate Conservation Grant, is partnering with archery clubs, organizations, retailers, and state fish and wildlife agencies to bring archery to communities.
The Archery is for Everyone! campaign is the first coordinated national effort that connects pop culture archers and Olympic excitement with clinics hosted by archery organizations, state and federal agencies, and the archery and bowhunting industry. To promote the over 250 hands-on clinics around the country, the campaign created a variety of digital content to increase awareness and participation. This includes promotional videos with social media influencer @femalepeterparker and Olympian Brady Ellison. In these videos @femalepeterparker, whose real name is Jess Dolan, learns the basic steps of archery from Ellison and challenges him to a target shooting match to test her new skills. Throughout the video Marvel hero Hawkeye also shows the steps of shooting via comic type strips. “This campaign was a great opportunity to work with Marvel and teach the sport of archery through well-known characters,” said Richard Fleming, Senior Director of Communications and Marketing at USA Archery.
The campaign has also created limited edition posters that showcase Hawkeyes Clint Barton and Kate Bishop demonstrating the steps of shooting with other Marvel superheroes like Black Panther and Dr. Strange cheering them on. Additional comic style promotional material shows archers participating from a variety of stances including participating from a wheelchair. “Simple adaptations to archery programs can increase comfort and break the stigma associated with persons with disabilities joining a sport, leading to important conversations and increased participation in a welcoming environment,” added Fleming. “This Multistate Conservation Grant funding has allowed us to expand our work to show that archery can be an enriching experience for anyone, inclusion is a large part of the Archery is for Everyone! campaign.”
The Multistate Conservation Grant Program is cooperatively administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “Each year, up to $11,000,000 is available to fund projects that address priorities of state fish and wildlife agencies,” said Lori Bennett, Program Analyst with the Service. “Increasing awareness and participation in archery is a priority for many state agencies allowing them to get residents involved in shooting sports, out to ranges, and enjoying the great outdoors.”
The archery community has seen noticeable increases in archery interest following events such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games as well as the release of popular movies featuring bow wielding heroes. In 2016, the Institute on Gender in Media found that fictional archers in films and television programs have inspired young people to take up archery, especially girls. In the study new archers mentioned fictional characters such as Katniss from the Hunger Games, Robin Hood, and Marvel’s Hawkeye as an influence in their decision to take up the sport. Additional research shows that archery participation teaches focus, self-control, discipline, patience, and other skills important for academic and life success.
Through this campaign USA Archery will continue to build awareness and involvement in the sport and welcome anyone interested in archery and the additional skills learned through the sport. “We are so excited to collaborate with Marvel and key stakeholders across the country in bringing this campaign to life. Archery has had big moments in the spotlight, spotlight with now-iconic heroes in blockbuster films and television shows,” said USA Archery CEO Rod Menzer in a recent press release. “We’re capitalizing on a huge opportunity to grow and promote the sport, making sure fans of archery on-screen get a bow in hand to experience the thrill for themselves and learn how to participate close to home.”
You can learn more about the Archery is for Everyone! campaign and join a clinic near you at www.usarchery.org/events/archery-is-for-everyone or explore additional resources from other archery programs like National Archery in the Schools Program and 4H Shooting Sports.