The Story of AJ Archery


The Adventure Begins...


Back in 1977, when I met my late husband Matt in college, I never would have guessed that I would be where I am today - teaching archery and outdoor skills. I have loved the outdoors since I was very little and have always been a “tomboy”, and when younger often times was found reading a book in a backyard mulberry tree.

Both Matt and I were fortunate enough to be able to enjoy many outdoor skills courses in our college days together. We took Wilderness Camping and hiked the Bruce Trail in Canada twice. Imagine us carrying 40-pound packs and hiking the 10 miles and camping primitively along the way. We had so much fun on those trips. We also enjoyed other classes: outdoor survival skills, rock climbing, cross-country skiing and several others participating in numerous hiking and camping trips. We also spent many dates in the area parks hiking.

We shared the love of the outdoors throughout our 33-year marriage and did camping, fishing, hunting, and hiking during all the seasons and in all kinds of weather. Our children, Zac and Heather, were included at a very early age and we invited our extended family whenever possible. We enjoyed many family camping trips to several Ohio, Michigan & Indiana State Parks and campgrounds, as well as several places in Canada.

AJ Starts to Learn and Love Archery...


Already having shot firearms for years, in 2001, we added archery as another interest. We joined two outdoors clubs and began a fun and memorable time together with this sport. We shot archery in a Winter League for many years, but never on the same team - it was our rule - we had to keep us happy with each other and especially each other’s scores. For a long time we were the only couple that did. We always looked forward to League night and the fun that we would have with our fellow members. Since we started in the League, many other couples and even families created their own teams. Archery shooting gave us fun times outdoors, too.

For many years, we would travel to the local archery clubs in Ohio and Michigan for their weekend shoots often meeting our friends along the way. After a few years, our granddaughter, Ericka, would join us on several shoot weekends. She was thrilled when we went camping in Hillsdale, Michigan and then on to Indiana to try out a new bow. Little did she know that what she thought was for someone else was actually for her that Christmas and wow was she excited that day when she unwrapped it. By the looks of it in the picture that was taken to capture the moment, I am still not sure who was more excited Matt or her.

Matt really spoiled me and often by making my arrows from scratch and then re-fletching them. After breaking off too many nocks and tearing up vanes and feathers, he eventually taught me to repair them myself. He always was reading and studying his many books, magazines and videos concerning archery equipment, hunting and equipment repair. He shared his knowledge with me all the time whenever he could, making for some memorable discussions and interesting hands-on learning sessions for both of us.

We had fun going to Outdoors Expos and for many years celebrated the day of our wedding anniversary at the one in Novi, Michigan. Our many bow hunting trips to a farm in Tiffin, Ohio usually included an entire weekend together in our pop-up camper which was really quite cozy. We also enjoyed trips to Compton's Traditional Rendezvous.

My love of archery and my involvement in promoting the sport has been a passion of mine for several years and especially with the young archers - our future. Matt was so supportive whenever I wanted to teach archery and then when I studied/attended sessions for my certifications. He often told me how proud he was of what I had achieved and that I instructed. Sometimes he would even help me get ready for my sessions by setting up and then tearing down as well as giving me ideas for class presentations and display tables.

Starting AJ Archery (Dedication to Matt)


Matt often told me, “Don’t just give your skills and knowledge away for free” and we discussed this many times. We decided we would figure out a way for me to do just that as soon as possible - we just ran out of time to do it together. In 2013 after he passed away, I started my own business for teaching archery & teaching about the great outdoors. I am so fortunate that through his forethought I am finally able to do what we had discussed.

His love and support for me was unending, I am forever grateful to him for that, and I know that he is smiling right now as I realize “our dream”. One that he helped make come true by sharing together all the times we did in the great outdoors and one that I can carry forward and inspire others to do as well.

For that and all that we were to each other I dedicate my work to his memory. May it help others realize just what a jewel I had for all those years & how fortunate some of us are in life to actually be able to enjoy the outdoors together with someone & then be able to do what they truly enjoy for a living.

Coach AJ and her late husband, Matt

Coach AJ and her late husband, Matt