Welcome to the Southern Counties Archery Youth Tour (SCAYT), the Southern Counties Archery Society answer to dropping attendance at many competitions.
The idea is the brainchild of Malcolm Barr, Sussex Archery Junior Team Manager, and Rod Brown, Chair of Sussex Archery. “We want to get juniors out shooting at the competitions accessible to them, meeting other junior archers, and perhaps branching out a little,” they explained. “What the tour does is run a connecting thread through the shoots in the Southern Counties, with that thread leading to the Southern Counties Junior Championships at the end of the season.”
While the tour will consist of more than 30 shoots over the course of the outdoor season, junior archers can take part in as many or as few as they like. The number of events creates opportunities for lots of juniors to get involved across a large region with 13 counties. “The tour is designed to allow archers to dip in and out, choosing the events which are convenient for them,” says Malcolm. The tour’s scoring system means that three good performances over the course of the five months would likely put an archer in a position to potentially win the tour at the finale, with double the usual points available at the tour finale shoot in late September.
How do junior archers join SCAYT? “That is the really easy bit – just take part in any of the events listed on the tour, and you will be entered automatically” explains Rod. The tour standings will be updated after each weekend of events on the tour, and juniors will see themselves appearing in those standings as they are updated. Any junior who doesn’t want to be included just needs to let the organisers know.
The organisers are conscious that getting to and from events is expensive, so archers who complete three events on the SCAY tour will be able to shoot at the tour finale (which also includes the SCAS Junior Championships) for an entry fee of just £5.
If SCAYT turns out to be a success, could the format be replicated elsewhere? Malcolm believes so. “Yes, particularly for junior archery. We will be very happy to share our ideas and experience with other regions. Of course, there are already national events for juniors in place. But is not too hard to imagine tours like this being run in parallel in each of the regions, with regional tour finales and then perhaps a national final.”
So what would a successful tour look like? Rod imagines it as: “lots of junior archers taking part in the shoots on the tour, which will mean some going to shoots they may not have done otherwise, and a community of junior archers forming around that. Throw in some close competition between the archers involved, a big tour final and SCAS Junior Champs at the end. All we need are juniors to get involved, and the rest will follow.”
Juniors who wish to take part can find out more information on the Southern Counties Archery Society website.
For more information on Archery GB's youth competitions, please click here.