by: Tom D. Spisz, Bowtech Pro Staff
Every archer has a different beginning to their archery legacy. Mine begins, like many, with my father. For as far back as I can remember, I constantly asked to go out into the woods with my father on his hunt, always hoping for the blessed return that a successful harvest brings. At times we would leave empty handed, but other times we left the woods with the joy and excitement of carrying out a whitetail deer. I was immediately drawn to every aspect of hunting. No matter the weapon, bow or firearm, just being in the woods made me happy.
Archery quickly became my passion. My first bow was a little red compound bow. Right away I had a natural eye hitting the X with ease. That’s when my parents went out and purchased tournament arrows and set me on my way to 3D tournaments. As I grew, the targets got farther away and the bows got bigger and better. My father told me that if I stuck with not only hunting, but archery in particular, big things could happen in my future. He was right.
At the age of 12, legal age to take a deer by bow in Michigan at the time, I took my first deer. Every hunting season from there on out I hunted. I’ve had successful seasons, and unsuccessful seasons, but each time I left the woods with new knowledge and ways to better myself and my hunt.
Then in 2013 a desire emerged, beginning my journey “Beyond the Bow.” It was then I realized I wanted to do more with archery by giving back. I contacted a local hospital and asked if I could host an archery shoot to benefit patients. With a green light, I put the journey in motion. Unfortunately, just a few months in my goal was on the verge of failure due to a lack money and recognition, but I refused to quit, failure pushed me ever-harder.
This is when the real work began. I did a study and research during my college education on how to develop a non-profit organization. I started reaching out to people I thought would be interested in taking part. I wanted to develop a charitable organization, using the passion many have for archery and other outdoor activities, to help raise funds and awareness for various illnesses. What I found was an outstanding amount of hunters, archers and outdoor enthusiasts worldwide that love supporting a hospital, research, facility, etc., so why not combine the best of both worlds?
After appropriate forms, filings and two years of patience, in 2015 my dream became a reality. I was able to incorporate a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, known as Shoot for Life. With a mission as my vision, this charitable corporation was developed to help organizations that research and/or treat life-altering illnesses. To my knowledge this is a first of its kind, at least in Michigan.
Then in 2016 I was blessed once again, becoming a member of Bowtech’s Pro Staff. It’s a relationship I hope continues for a very long time. It is not every day that a person gets to live out their dreams by turning an idea into a reality, or to have a company like Bowtech supporting them. This is my, “Beyond the Bow.” I encourage all of you to find your beyond the bow. Whatever drives you, inspires you, use that passion to help others. Teach someone to shoot a bow, volunteer your time, or help out at your local archery facility. You are your own limit.