Shay Archer (Shane W. Archer) is the oldest son of John and Candice (Howard) Archer. He was born in 1989 when his parents were still living in Camden. In middle school he and his family were living in Decatur when his assignment to an undesirable middle school was one of the factors convincing the Archers to move to Spearfish Lake in Facing the Storm.
Shay showed a strong interest in sports, cycling and dogs. After moving to Spearfish Lake, he and his brother Cody join Little League, coached by Terry Curtis, assisted by their dad. He was far more of a jock in High School, but was careful to shelter his younger brother. He attended Lake State in Sault Saint Marie, eventually declaring Parks and Rec as his major and working at Cedar Point Amusement Park during the summer with his girlfriend Bethany.