FAIRMONT - No longer will physical education teacher Chris Engelby need to anxiously watch the skies before teaching her archery unit at Fairmont Junior and Senior High.
The district has been awarded a grant through the National Archery in the Schools Program and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to purchase indoor compound bow equipment, as well as curriculum and training.
The new equipment will allow students to be introduced to the sport without the wind, rain and cold ruining the fun.
"It was miserable," Engelby said of dealing with targets blowing over and rain chilling students and teacher alike.
The grant required the district to put up a matching $1,600. The school partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation, Girl Scouts, Community Education and Recreation, and the Fairmont firefighter relief fund.
Engelby said the equipment will be available for use by Community Ed and Girl Scouts in the summer, allowing access to the maximum number of people.
"We want to do archery on a more regular basis," said Girl Scout leader Jennifer Nielsen. "I want to always make sure we are offering basic camping and outdoor skills."
With students at school, through CER and Girl Scouts exposed to the sport, Engelby would like to get together a team of archers.
"We are trying to get a wide range of people trained," she said. "Once the kids have done the school program and CER classes, we can get a team together to go to competition."
Eventually, classes could be held in the lower elementary grades.
It will take three to six weeks for the equipment - 10 right-handed and two left-handed Genesis Bows, five 36-inch Block FITA bull's eye targets, 10 dozen full-length aluminum arrows, one safety backstop net and one equipment repair package - to arrive.
Once the equipment comes, the grant allows for teacher training on how to use it.
"We have been working on the grant for a while," Engelby said. "We are trying to promote the sport. I love archery, I love teaching archery."
The National Archery in the Schools Program promotes international-style target archery as part of in-school curriculum, to improve educational performance and participation in the shooting sports among students in grades 4-12.