There’s a hunting and fishing lodge in the heart of Indianapolis, literally right downtown. It’s home to the Dirty Dozen Hunting and Fishing Club and Dirty Dozen president Joe King, an African-American man committed to giving inner-city kids a chance to discover the value and fun of hunting and fishing.
This lodge – once a machine shop Joe King and five other men purchased in 1989 – is symbolic of the Archery Trade Association’s commitment to introducing archery to urban kids and the lodge’s leader, Joe King, was the catalyst in making this happen.
Thanks in large part to King’s efforts, NASP is adding the Indiana’s largest school corporation-Indianapolis Public Schools-this year, increasing enrollment to 250 schools and more than 40,000 participating students. Once this initial relationship was forged between NASP and Indy schools, the ATA was able to work with Indiana’s wildlife agency to plug Explore Bowhunting into Indiana public schools currently teaching NASP, including schools in Indiana’s largest school district, Indianapolis.
“Joe King was instrumental in opening the doors for the National Archery in the Schools Program in the Indianapolis School District,” ATA director of government relations Mitch King said. “Joe has a great passion for reaching out to inner-city kids where he teaches them about archery and the outdoors. He carried that passion over to help open the doors and get NASP started in the Indianapolis School district. Everything I see happening in Indianapolis I can contribute back to Joe King.”
Tim Beck, Indiana Department of Natural Resources and National Archery in the Schools Program coordinator, said he believes Indiana will top 300 NASP schools before the end of the 2012-2013 school year.
As is often the case, this urban breakthrough was the result of several groups working together. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources provided $90,000 to fund the project, with the ATA contributing $20,000, while NASP added another $10,000.
This “breakthrough” was also helped along by Indianapolis city officials, park and recreation leadership and its business community.
“Since, more often than not, Indy is home to the ATA’s Trade Show, we wanted the city to embrace our mission by embracing archery in a way that can really make a difference,” said Mitch King. “Now, Indianapolis not only helps us put on a great trade show, but they buy into our mission and are actively working to make Indianapolis a place where archery is visible and easily accessible to the folks who live and work there.”