Jason Tong, the head coach of Sun God Archery at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), was introduced to USA Archery because of a desire to go virtual.
“When the club was founded in 2013, it joined USA Archery as an adult club so that we could participate in the virtual tournaments, earn pins in the adult achievement program, and of course be covered by USA Archery’s liability insurance,” said Tong.
Sun God Archery at UCSD (SGA) is a student organization at UC San Diego which houses the competitive team that represents UC San Diego at tournaments. In 2014 when USA Archery relaunched the Collegiate Archery Program, it converted to a college club so that the team members would continue to have the opportunity to compete at a regional and national level.
Tong shares his experience in partnering with USA Archery below:
Campus Rec: What role does this partnership play in your rec center?
Jason Tong: SGA utilizes USA Archery’s programs to drive the development of our athletes, which includes their certification program for our instructors and coaches, and their college grants which have helped us continue to support not only our team, but also the surrounding San Diego and collegiate communities. USA Archery also brings their experience to the table to advise different stakeholders such as risk management , athletic directors and sports facilities, who may not have as much information or knowledge about the sport on the requirements for a successful facility.
CR: What are the benefits as a result of this partnership?
JT: As a collegiate archery club, we’re eligible to apply for collegiate-specific USA Archery grants. In the past, we’ve received aid which enabled our team members to attend national competitions, improve our equipment and expand our facilities to accommodate an ever growing number of athletes, and certify instructors and coaches who take our athletes to the next level. Our certified instructors also teach UCSD Recreation’s archery classes, and their knowledge has helped grow interest in the sport and participation in these classes. As the result of the experience from our recreation classes, many students decide to continue to pursue the sport outside of their class hours by joining our club. All USA Archery programs, sanctioned events, coaches, instructors and members are also covered under their liability insurance, even though archery is one of the safest sports. For facilities interested in hosting a competitive event, USA Archery provides resources for that, too.
CR: What are the benefits to your members?
JT: For all our members, a USA Archery club gives them access to certified instructors, gives them a space to develop as athletes and allows them to track their progress through the Adult Archery Achievement program. Instructors themselves, many of whom are our students, are taught through the certification programs how to maintain safety and what it’s like to coach and work with others through their role. This is a huge benefit for them as they learn how to communicate and coach others, a skill that translates far outside of practice and the sport.
For our more competitively-minded archers, being part of USA Archery provides the opportunity to compete at local, state and national levels, both individually and as part of a team. That opportunity has taken our team members all across the country from across all of California through Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Florida and many other states. Many of our archers have noted that some of their most memorable experiences have been at these competitions, due to athletic performance or from the shared experience competing with their team and traveling with team members.
CR: In what ways have you been pleasantly surprised by working with USA Archery?
JT: USA Archery works hard to make sure we have the support we need. When the university was considering removing our facilities, the CEO of USA Archery personally wrote a letter to the chancellor asking the university to reconsider their decision. In addition, they are extremely supportive of groups trying to host more events and opportunities to compete, allowing us to leverage their experience and organization to improve the event experience.
CR: What else can you tell other rec center professionals about USA Archery?
JT: If you’re looking to have archery at your rec center, whether to support the interest from the community or to encourage athletic and personal growth, working with USA Archery will set you and the athletes up for future success – for growth and for athletic performance. USA Archery has a large number of resources available to those interested in starting programs, hosting events or even how to set up a facility, and they are always willing to work with organizations to get the information they need.
For more information on USA Archery, visit usarchery.org.