The University of Texas at Austin’s archery club has grown more diverse the past few years, with more women and students from several majors joining the club.
Male engineering students formerly made up most of the club’s membership. But club president Hannah Jane DeCiutiis says increasing numbers of women and non-engineering students also have joined. She attributes this surge to movies and TV shows featuring the sport.
The club’s goal is to attract new members and keep them involved, club vice president Nikki Seymour tells The Daily Texan:
“I think that retention of our new members is more important than their initial interest in the club,” Seymour said. “Hollywood won’t keep making archery movies, but if we can retain and cultivate an interest in the girls that come out to the range now, they can spread the word and keep girls involved in archery.
“We provide new archers with all the equipment they need to start shooting immediately, which reduces the cost of entry,” Seymour said “Our veteran members are welcoming, so there is a support network and community in place to help build a sense of engagement and involvement for new members.”
The Archery Trade Association and its partners have spearheaded efforts to create opportunities for girls and women to try archery. ATA president/CEO Jay McAninch recently discussed these opportunities on the “Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World” radio show.
“Our business used to be built on 25- to 70-year-old males who love to hunt, and sometimes brought along their wives and families,” McAninch said. “We started a campaign called Release Your Wild on Nov. 5, 2013, and in two months 11.8 million people got engaged and fired up about it. And get this: 90 percent were under age 18, and 65 percent were girls.”
To get started in archery and learn about opportunities near you, find an archery shop.