NEWBERRY – The Easton Foundations Archery Center’s local youth archery program is drawer closer to earning its designation as a Community Olympic Development Program (CODP) from the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

Five department officials from the committee have already signed off. Just one more signature is needed, and Easton Newberry Sport Complex’s archery program will be part of a direct route for athletes to the archery Olympic training center just outside San Diego, said Doug Engh, national outreach director for Easton Foundations.

There are only about 10 archery CODP sites nationally, and to become one, the complex has undergone years of preparation and staff training following USOC guidelines and even earned an endorsement from archery’s national governing body, USA Archery.

The program’s preparation has been focused around becoming a funnel for the junior Olympics. Lesson plans are being worked under USA Archery standards, and there have been discussions regarding athletes’ transportation and understanding the USOC high performance system.

“We are ready to unveil the banners,” Engh said, who works with head coach Robert Turner to make the Olympian concept a reality at the complex.

The staff is currently looking at whether the certification will change the archery program’s class structure and curriculum, Turner said.

The weekly classes scale five skill levels from beginner to advanced.

“There has been a lot of success coming from our structure,” Turner said.

Just last Friday at the National Target Championships in Ohio, one of the program’s students came away with a gold medal.

The CODP certification may mean that the complex’s program could be changed to more resemble USA Archery’s national elite program, Junior Dream Team. Two local graduate archers are already in this traveling program.

The idea behind streamlining the archery program is not to weed out players who won’t reach Olympic caliber, but to have the option available for the community’s youth.

“That’s why the designation has come our way,” Turner said            

“We have already shown that we have a great series of classes and have produced champions.

This year, about 60 state champions came from the local archery program, and last year there were about 45.

“We are so proud of what our archers have done, and we look forward to being more formalized under the CODP,” Turner said.

There will be an unveiling and rebranding ceremony for the complex in August if all goes well, and invites will include committee members, national coaches and some gold medalists, Engh said.

“And the logo does include the Olympic rings,” Engh said.

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