There are now 30,000 teachers instructing their students on the finer points of archery, Grimes said.

"We reached our goals [in Kentucky] for five years in three years," Grimes said. "It might be the first time in history that the government is ahead of schedule on something."

Compton admits it has been slow going in Maryland.

"We're down at the bottom end of the [national] scale," he said. "I think one of the reasons it hasn't grown in our school systems is that it doesn't get a lot of publicity [compared to other programs]."

That's where avid hunters like Kari Kephart come in.

Kephart, a former Mount St. Mary's track star who didn't start hunting until she met her husband, Jason, a taxidermist on the Eastern Shore, has now introduced NASP at two different schools where she worked.

Now an assistant principal at Maple Elementary in Cambridge, Kephart is starting the program there after seeing its benefits at Warwick Elementary in Dorchester County, where she taught second grade.

Kephart believes archery teaches "discipline and safety," and she said she has watched fourth- and fifth-graders who didn't like going to school improve their study skills and behavior after getting involved in NASP.

"It promotes success," Kephart said.

The popularity of the sport on the international level, particularly in the Olympics, has trickled down to NASP, Grimes and others said. Grimes can remember when he held the first Kentucky state championship back in 2001 and 40 contestants showed up. This year he expects more than 8,000.

"Our goal was to get kids off the couch and away from the video games, and teach them to relate to wildlife and wild places," he said.

It appears that NASP has hit a bullseye — many times over.

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