Each year, more and more women are getting involved in outdoor activities. I find their reasons range from wanting to be more active to a desire to learn outdoor skills so they can pass them on to their children or grandchildren to gaining their own independence and strength. Some want to get involved so they may join a loved one on their next outdoor adventure. Whatever the reason, I love to see more women in the outdoors.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman is a non-profit national program that is used through the United States and Canada and provides opportunities for women who are 18 years or older to learn, improve or gain skills related to hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. Here in Maine, the program (usually referred to as BOW) is sponsored by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and the Friends of Maine BOW. We work with a number of highly skilled and ambitious volunteer instructors to provide a low-cost, high action and hands-on weekend for women to learn to love being in the outdoors in Maine.
We consider the barriers that may prevent some women from learning to hunt, fish, hike, bike or kayak. For many years, a lack of adequate equipment and gear stood in the way. Now, companies like She Outdoor Apparel are selling outdoor clothing for women. You can even find firearms, bows, kayaks and fishing equipment specifically designed for women. Another barrier is the stigma associated with the tradition that only men go hunting or fishing. At the Becoming an Outdoors Woman Intro Skills Weekend we work to overcome that barrier by providing the chance for women to try the activities of their interest in a safe, comfortable and relaxing environment.
This year, the Intro Skills Weekend is scheduled for September 12-14 at Camp Caribou in Winslow, Maine. The facility is centrally located within the state and is absolutely beautiful. Participants stay in bunk style cabins with 8 or so other female participants and have the opportunity to complete four 3 hour sessions throughout the weekend. Topics range from canoeing, kayaking, camping, outdoor cooking, archery, firearms, ATV operation, fishing, fly casting, wood crafts, wilderness first-aid and so on. You can visit our website at www.mainebow.com to learn more.
If nothing else, attending the BOW Intro Skills Workshop is an opportunity for participants to escape the rigors of daily life, take on new challenges and find they can do anything they set their mind to. If you would like to join us this fall you may download the registration form or contact me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cost to attend is $245 and includes all meals, lodging, equipment and instruction. Limited scholarships are available. Additional Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshops include the popular Winter Skills Weekend held each February and the Spring Mini held each April both at the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Bryant Pond.
Check out some of the photos from the 2013 Introductory Skills Weekend
So take a chance, learn something new, meet some new people and have a blast. I hope to see you in September! -EQM