It has been over a week already; I need to tell you about the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop held in Halsey a couple of weekends ago. If my memory is correct, this was the seventeenth year I have been an instructor at our annual BO-W workshop at Halsey. I can remember that number because I was asked a long time ago to teach a Basic Fishing class at BO-W, and I taught one year before taking the next year off for the birth of my daughter. The year after that I was back and I have been back every year since. So, to remember how long it has been, I just have to remember how old my daughter, Emily, is.
This year in addition to the Basic Fishing course I taught a couple of “mini-sessions” on knot-tying. I did not earn any knot-tying badges when I was in the Boy Scouts and in fact I flunked out of Boy Scouts when I discovered we were not going to go hunting and fishing all the time. But, I guess since I teach a basic fishing course I am supposed to know something about tying knots. We started with a couple of basic fishing knots that I use, the Uni-Knot being one of them, and went from there.
Saturday morning I taught the basic fishing course and that afternoon did a session on bow-fishing. For the bow-fishing course we have some bows all rigged for bow-fishing and spend some time on the water shooting at wooden fish targets. Although they are not real fish, the targets still give a good idea of how a bow-fisher has to account for the refraction of light as they try to stick a fish swimming below the surface of the water. I “hide” those fish targets along the shoreline of the sandpit at the entrance to Halsey National Forest and the ladies seem to really enjoy “sneaking” along the shore and shooting at those wooden fish. Most of the weekend this year was cold and windy, but I still had a couple, three ladies that just did not want to quit shooting at those fish targets.
The weather was less than ideal, but finally Sunday morning the sun was shining bright. Although the wind was still blowing a bit, it was much less than the previous two days and at least the sunshine made it seem a lot nicer. We went back to the pit on Sunday morning to actually do some hands-on fishing. I did not take a lot of pictures this year, mostly because the weather was cold, wet and windy much of the time. I will share what I have along with one I stole from Julie Geiser’s blog.
The fishing was slow. After the weather change we had in those couple, three days, I was not surprised. However, I believe everyone that went to the pit to fish caught at least one little largemouth bass or bluegill and there were several 10-inch rainbow trout caught as well. I think they all enjoyed the time fishing because even though it was time to go home, no one was in a hurry to leave the pit.
I mentioned Julie Geiser’s blog above. Julie ram-rods the BO-W workshop every fall; be sure to read her blog about the weekend. There are some more pictures there and Julie’s account of the great weekend. In fact I am going to steal this from Julie, and share it; here is some feedback she got from one of the participants:
Someone got it right; a state government agency to boot.
This last weekend the Nebraska Games and Parks sponsored “Becoming an Outdoor Woman” workshops (BOW) at the Halsey National Forest. The workshop offered a large variety of classes: fire arm safety, trailering, cleaning game, shot gun, rife, muzzle loading, archery, kayaking, bow fishing, fly fishing/tying, photography, geocaching, and many more mini classes. The instructors were talented in their own field, laid back, easy to talk to, fascinating to listen to and genuinely helpful. From my observation as a participant; the weekend was a great success in spite of the weather.
Imagine 115 women gathering together in a 4-H camp, 20 women per cabin; sleeping in bunk beds; and the weather wasn’t pleasant: 32 degrees; 50 mile an hour winds, rain/sleet with no cancellation of outdoor activities. And here’s the shocker: The women WERE NOT GRIPING about the weather! Or politics either. Instead of moaning and groaning there was camaraderie against the wind and cold. Instructors and campers offered or exchanged warm gear with strangers as they moved from the hall to the windy outdoors and back in.
There was some concern for getting back home (after the weekend), but for the most part the women were talking about the class they just had or were about to go into; along with sharing their goals for the weekend with strangers at the breakfast tables or in class. The quick changes in classroom arrangements; trying to move as much indoors as possible; was taken in stride. From the camper’s point of view the weekend came off smoothly. It was a community of learning; people who loved their area of interest and loved sharing it with eager participants.
At the beginning of every class the instructors would genuinely ask: Why did you take this class and what do you want to do with it? It was a time where the women could be vulnerable and say: “I don’t know crap about this area and I want to know more . . .” The patient instructors were a blessing; it was okay to fumble around during practice times. More experienced campers were given personalized attention with lots of new tips and connections.
On the way home, the overwhelming response in our van was: I learned a lot and “Two thumbs up”. For me it was exactly what I was looking for. In the last 5 years I have not been able to enjoy most outdoor activities due to a minor disability. I wasn’t sure what new “sport” or activity I could actually manage; where or how would I learn to do it and how would I need to adapt? At BOW I was able to select several areas where I had little previous experience and came out confident that I have enough information; hands on experience; and adaptation tips to know whether I want to pursue learning more.
Thank you, NE Games and Parks for an uplifting weekend of encouragement and learning.
That is why we do it! That is why the weekend is so rewarding! If you have not experienced it, plan on it!
Oh, and one other thing, we have some fun in the evenings; this year I had to demonstrate that I could cast blind-folded, and I learned how to roll pigs!