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Becoming an Outdoors Woman Empowers Women

The Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program in Nebraska continues to grow and empower women. Nebraska was the second state to embrace this outdoor program started by Dr. Christine Thomas from Wisconsin in 1991.

Thomas had a mission to give women the knowledge to be active in the outdoors and through the BOW program women gain the confidence needed to engage in all types of outdoor activities.

The BOW program has grown not only in Nebraska and Wisconsin but is an active program in several states; all offering women the knowledge to learn about the outdoors in a non-intimidating, positive environment.

Typically a man’s sport, hunting, fishing, camping, boating, hiking, to name a few, were handed down from father to son. Now outdoor activities are a big part of many women’s lives. Dads are now teaching their young girls about the outdoors, moms are learning that they too can teach their children about the outdoors. The outdoors is available to us all – those that are knowledgeable utilize it to the fullest.

Once women become skilled hopefully they will pass on their new skills and outdoor passions with family and friends.

Some women have the interest to learn but no one to teach them. Other women may have a boyfriend or husband that like outdoor activities but may be reluctant to go with them for a few reasons; the women don’t know much about the outdoors and don’t want to feel inadequate around others. Some women are intimidated with firearms, other equipment or the entire outdoor experience and don’t want to ask too many questions. Other women simply cannot learn from a boyfriend or spouse – they might not have the patience to teach or are unable to relay their skills and knowledge to someone else.

This is where the BOW program fills a large gap. This program gives women the ability to learn from other women and men; at the workshop they can ask questions and not feel incompetent, they can try new skills, learn at their own speed, get comfortable with equipment and not be intimidated.

Women with the same mindset can help enhance each other in the learning process and encourage each other along the way.

This program has several staple classes that are provided every year; introduction to firearms, shot gunning, rifle marksmanship, muzzleloading, archery, fishing, fly fishing, canoeing and kayaking are all classes that BOW are based from. Classes are then added accordingly to improve and add to the program.

Women who want to learn about the shooting sports or those that want to feel more comfortable around firearms can start the workshop off with the introduction to firearms class. This class shows participants the safety involved with firearms, how to properly handle firearms, how many different firearms work, how they are loaded, unloaded and properly used.

Realizing that not all women are comfortable with the shooting sports or hunting and fishing, the program offers many other classes that change from year to year so women can try their hand at many different offerings.  Dutch oven cooking, fly tying, trapping, GPS, Geocaching, camping, journaling, and photography are classes that are offered, some on a rotating basis at the workshop.

The workshop starts on a Friday afternoon and goes through Sunday noon; during this time women have several choices of classes in four different sessions that they can choose from.

To get a glimpse of what goes on at the workshop see our video on YouTube.

The BOW workshop has taken one more step in getting women involved with the Beyond BOW program. The Beyond program takes the skills the women participants have learned at the workshop and puts them to use out of the classroom.

Beyond BOW takes women on deer and turkey hunting trips, fishing excursions, weekend kayaking and camping trips to name a few. You do not need to be a BOW workshop participant to attend the Beyond BOW outings.

There are several firearm and archery shooting activities offered this summer along with kayaking adventures, Dutch oven cooking and many more.

The network of BOW women instructors and participants alike have set a new trend by getting women involved in the outdoors. For more information on the October workshop or to see what is being offered this summer for Beyond BOW adventures visit www.NebraskaBOW.com.

About julie geiser

Julie Geiser is a Public Information Officer and NEBRASKAland Regional Editor based out of North Platte, where she was born and still happily resides. Geiser worked for the commission previously for over 10 years as an outdoor education instructor – teaching people of all ages about Nebraska’s outdoor offerings. She also coordinates the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program for Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC). Geiser went on to work in marketing and writing an outdoor column for the North Platte Telegraph before returning to NGPC in her current position. She loves spending time outdoors with her family and getting others involved in her passions of hunting, fishing, camping, boating, hiking and enjoying Nebraska’s great outdoors.

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