Wildlife Conservation agencies are concerned too many young people are forgoing learning outdoor skills that will inspire them to spend more time with wild things in wild places. Natural resource professionals are convinced learning target shooting skills will result in character and self-reliance development that will serve the future of wildlife conservation well.
The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP©) was developed to serve these specific educational and conservation purposes. NASP© was co-created by the Kentucky Departments of Fish & Wildlife Resources and Department of Education and Mathews Archery in the late summer and fall of 2001. The program was launched in 21 Kentucky middle schools on March 3, 2002. Originally called the "Kentucky Archery in the Schools Program", the effort's goal was to enroll 120 schools and teach target archery skills to 24,000 students each year. Kentucky gave itself three years to achieve this goal.
Within the program's first year the 120-school goal was achieved and because of neighbor-state interest, "National" replaced "Kentucky" in the program's name. NASP© also expanded its participation standards to include students in 4th-12th grade. Shortly afterwards NASP© was granted 501 c(3) non-profit educational foundation status. NASP© is overseen by an all-volunteer board of directors. Every state, province and country enrolled in NASP© has a "Coordinator" in charge of leading the program in their jurisdiction.