You would never expect a three year old to be shooting a bow and arrow, but that is exactly what Marie DeRegnaucourt did with her dad. She was on the Jr. World Team at 14 and represented the United States in the Czech Republic Junior World Games. At age 16, became the 2004 Junior United States Open National Champion in Atlanta, Georgia. At 18, while attending Michigan State University, she made All American in Archery.
Now Marie, who is also a certified archery instructor, is besting her father. Shown in the picture is Marie teaching her 18month old (yes I said 18 month) daughter, Aubrey Lee, archery at the Demmer Shooting Center at Michigan State University.
Archery is one of the safest sports according to the National Safety Council. The only two other sports safer are Badminton and Ping Pong. It is a great way for parent and child to spend quality time together. Life lessons learned indirectly are patience, focus, persistence and problem-solving to name a few. While the Demmer Center has not offered nor is it offering classes for kids that young, it is amazing watching her work with mom.
A mother’s perspective from Marie, “As a mom and archer, I always hoped that one day my daughter would be interested in the sport of Archery. I had been involved with the sport since I was 3 years old and hoped that when the time was right, my daughter would be equally as eager to grab a bow and join her mom. I just didn’t know that time would come as soon as it did.
“I walked into the Demmer Center at MSU, excited to start my shift as a Range Safety Officer, but unsure about how my 18 month old daughter, Aubrey, would handle the 2 hour shift. As people came into the range to shoot, she stood by me, watching everyone’s movements; my silent observer. Within a half hour, she was grabbing cones and placing them on the shooting line for arrows. Next, she was grabbing arrows and putting them in the cones as she saw fit. Then the moment of truth; she knew that a bow was next, but would she grab one at all, just hand it to someone, or would she want to try it herself?
“I remembered the statistic in my mind that Archery is the safest sport next to Badminton and Ping Pong, and how I hoped she’d be interested, but at 18 months old? She walked to the bow stands, grabbed a bow, walked up to the shooting line, and started to point at the target using her ever-expanding linguistic skills. We grabbed a bow that was more fit for her size, and she was eager to grab an arrow; curious as to how it went on the string and then magically land in the foam target 5 meters away.
“I guided her hands, and helped support her miniature arms as we drew the bow back and let arrows fly. It was one of the most precious moments I have had with my daughter in her young life. Everything else faded away, and it was just me, my daughter, and my sport; focusing only on her and the bow.
“The first arrow that went into the foam sparked a thrilled excitement in Aubrey’s eyes. She was so amazed that the arrow stuck in the target on the other end, and my delight reached full throttle as her eyes lit up with exhilaration. I can only hope she finds this sport as enjoyable and as educating about life’s lessons as I have found throughout my life in Archery.
“Who knows what may come of this; All American, Olympics? She certainly has plenty of time to decide and prepare. It will have to be her choice, but if her current enthusiasm is any indication, I have no doubt. For now, she’s just having fun with Mommy.”