STRIDE “Return To Play” Initiative Includes Partnering with USA Archery; Inducting Wounded Warrior As Director And Coach
Archery is one of the truest forms of an individual lifetime sport that everyone can participate in. STRIDE has been introducing the sport to youth and veterans with disabilities since 2014 when they built a competition range in the woodlands at their camp in Chatham NY. STRIDE’s professionally-designed outdoor competition archery range is constructed in a pine grove on our 85 acre tent-camping retreat known as the STRIDE Center for Outdoor Recreation and Education (SCORE) (https://www.stride.org/sports/score-center/). The archery range has distance markers for four stations with permanent line marks from 10 meter, 20 meter and 30 meter distances, or moveable markers for less or more-skilled archers. The range was designed to be inclusive for people of all skill levels regardless of disability. STRIDE has purchased special adaptive equipment to accommodate all archers, including seated archers and beepers and stands for visually-impaired archers.
And now they will take the opportunity to grow the sport further by joining forces with USA Archery as a Junior Olympic Archery Development club.
Increasing the number and education of coaches offers the most immediate potential for growing the program. While USA Archery is currently not offering certification classes at this time due to COVID-19, STRIDE recruited Wounded Warrior TSG Tim McDonough to teach a certification class to certify five more volunteer coaches. McDonough is a USAA Certified Level 3 Course trainer and former USAFW2 Paralympic coach in Colorado Springs and recently moved back to New York where he got his start with adaptive sports and archery with STRIDE shortly after being medically retired from the Air Force. McDonough, who was featured in Time magazine https://time.com/wounded-warriors, is a ranked coach and archer. McDonough as the newly appointed director for STRIDE’s archery program will conduct the certification at SCORE with goals to add 5 new instructors who will be trained and USAA-certified.
While most organizations may struggle with achieving training and certification due to current lack of available classes from the COVID pandemic, STRIDE is in the unique position of having a commitment from a Level 3 trainer to conduct the training on our SCORE Camp premises while maintaining social distancing. As we enact our “Return to Play” initiative, this will position our program to come out of the crisis with growth during a time when many others will be forced to cut back, remain stagnant, or close.