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A family of real straight arrows

In the 44 years since Doug Jones picked up a longbow for the first time, he's developed a passion for the sport of archery.

Doug's wife, Gail, shares his love of the sport. Both are certified archery instructors.

The two insist that they didn't force the sport on their kids -- Aaron, 22, Nate, 19, and Kendra, 17 -- but all three are also active in archery in different ways.

"We gave them choices," Doug said. All three offspring, when they were very young, were introduced to all aspects of archery, Doug said.

"Archery is such a friendly sport," he said.

Doug, a project engineer for Lockheed Martin, has participated in shooting leagues for more than 25 years. Gail has a daycare business.

Each of their children is going their own way with the sport.

Aaron shoots a compound bow that he uses for hunting.

Nate, who made improvements to the city's archery range in Pine Tree Pond Park in 2005 for his Eagle Scout community service project, wants to hunt with his father's longbow and improve his skills with a recurve bow, which is designed for competitive shooting.

Nate and Kendra, who also competes with a recurve bow, have won several state titles in open competition with archers of all ages.

"There're only 25 recurve shooters in state competitions," said Kendra, who wants to explore hunting with a musket and black powder.

Nate and Kendra have their sights set on making the U.S. Olympic archery team.

Part of the reason the children took to the sport was the skill and social aspects in the archery clubs the family belongs to, Gail said.

Kendra, also a Girl Scout, and Nate, taught archery at Scout summer camp.

Both said the level of focus and concentration needed for competition has helped them do schoolwork and pass tests.

The Jones family is also starting an archery program for the youth of Zion Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove, with equipment provided at no cost.

"We want to share what we have learned," Doug said.

Pastor Mike Hanson has been an archer for several years and considers the youth archery program a way for the church to reach out to the community.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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