Crystal Gauvin
Maya Minuskin

Maya Minuskin

This Friday’s featured female is: Maya Minuskin

As I’ve said before this page is more than just celebrating women archers. Maya has moved on from archery, but she was a compound archer, shooting target events from the local stage to the National level. She is from NY, and while I’ve had the pleasure of working with her, I could never do this justice, so I will simply let you read the words written by her father in his nomination of Maya.

“Where to begin. I would like to nominate one of the strongest women I know. It was in middle school that Maya began her career in archery. Maya and I began spending time at the local range which was located at the end of our street. And how excited was I as I began slinging arrows at that same range when I was 13. But then something happened. In short order, Maya began outshooting me. I was so excited. Maya soon joined the local JOAD group, attended practice sessions and local competition. Maya began to take a podium position. That trend continued as she grew as an archer, and grew as a young adult. She began training with Crystal at her home in CT, and soon joined the ranks of indoor and outdoor nationals.

Maya finished her career in 4th place at outdoor nationals. Finished as that was the last Archery competition she attended. You see, Mayas body decided to fight her as we learned of several severe medical challenges that led to a complete lifestyle change. Maya left the public school system to be homeschooled along with many other changes to help make her days more bearable. I can only imagine the isolation and loneliness that one goes through when dealt the cards of a rare disorder with no known cure to date.

But Maya led the call to improve her situation. She did research and connected with others that were going through the same challenges. This was no small feat as her situation does affect a very small population. In fact, we searched for several years to find a medical Dr. that had any experience with her condition.

Then it happened. Maya found a specialist that understood many of Mayas challenges. So the work began…..

Here we are today, four years after our search began. Maya raised herself up and is facing her challenges head on. Just like she did at outdoor nationals. Maya graduated HS a half year early, has applied to and has been accepted at several college institutions, got her drivers license and a car, and has been holding a part time job.

We long for a cure for Mayas challenges. We have hope, but we don’t know when that relief will come. Research is slow going but gaining momentum as one of her disorders becomes more accepted within the public and medical community.

I just want to let Maya know how proud I am. Proud to be her Dad. Proud as I look up to her as a role model for me and many of her peers. She has a heart of gold and always puts others before herself. Anyone who has had the privilege of getting to know Maya would agree.

Maya has been on top with an amazing Archery career. She has been to the bottom with medical challenges that many could not push beyond.

But the future is looking up. Still, many challenges to meet. The days ahead will be met with success as well as many challenges. But Maya is a fighter, and a winner.

Archery- the challenges and discipline required to be successful in this sport are unique. It takes a special person to overcome the ups and downs of competition where timing and luck play a role just as skill does. And the travel, and the weather, and the will to keep shooting. It’s driven by the want to beat your own personal goals. To step up and tell yourself you can and will do better tomorrow. And its this spirit which Maya continues to have well beyond her years as an archer.

The future is yours Maya. I love you. Dad.”

As her dad says, Maya is one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. Even though she is half my age, she inspires me. I see all the challenges she has overcome, yet she has come through it all with a smile on her face. I hope sharing a piece of her story can encourage all of you to go out there and face your challenges. I hope it can remind you that many are silently suffering and you may never know. Please join me in giving Maya a huge cheer! Please share her story, and I challenge you to be like Maya and do a small act of kindness for a friend/stranger this week.

Know a female archer who deserves to be featured?
Fill out this form to submit your nomination.