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Worldwide: Becoming an Outdoor Woman
Posted on Sunday, February 19 @ 11:25:56 MST by iljiana

Horse Tips and Suggestions
Why do fewer women than men participate in outdoor activities like fishing,
hunting, shooting and backpacking?

A 1990 workshop at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, “Breaking Down Barriers to Participation of Women in Angling and Hunting,” examined the reasons for this disparity. Focus groups at the workshop identified 21 barriers to participation.

Many of the reasons relate to the fact that women may not have had an opportunity to learn outdoor skills that are necessary to the enjoyment of outdoor activities.

The “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” program began in 1991 as an experiment to determine whether providing an educational opportunity would be enough to welcome women outdoors.

That first workshop filled to capacity. It would have filled two or three times.

Since 1991, the workshop has expanded to 44 states and eight Canadian provinces, with many states offering multiple opportunities. Women are interested in learning outdoor skills. When the opportunity is offered, they line up for the chance to be involved.

The name of the “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” program comes from an effort to create the type of atmosphere in which women learn best—supportive and nonthreatening. Participation, however, is not limited to women.

An Exciting Opportunity What can a participant expect from a “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” weekend?

The workshops span a weekend, beginning at noon on Friday. The weekend will be divided into four blocks of instruction, about three hours each.

Skills Learning
During each instructional period, there will be 6-12 courses offered. The participant registers for one choice in each time period. In each session, there will be choices that focus on each of three areas: shooting and hunting, fishing, and non-harvest activities. These might include canoeing and kayaking, camping, outdoor cooking, orienteering or survival. The teaching is focused on the needs of adult learners, with the classes being taught in a very “hands-on” way.

“Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” workshops are generally held at camps or resorts. The atmosphere is “outdoorsy” but comfortable. Participants will stay in lodges, dormitories or cabins that may be rustic but have modern basic amenities. Meals are provided and cooked by the camp staff. The focus for the weekend is learning in a comfortable atmosphere.

The instructors and staff are patient and supportive. The participants share in the success of each group member. This is a non-competitive situation where each individual can learn at her own pace.

The evening activities are filled with fun and camaraderie. There may be story telling, campfire activities, pioneer skills “round robins,” fish and game tasting opportunities, outdoor equipment fairs or outdoor clothing fashion shows. The emphasis is on the enjoyment that goes with the social side of outdoor activities.

Getting Involved Finding a Workshop in your area
Becoming an Instructor Workshop coordinators frequently need qualified instructors in a variety of skills areas. They look for individuals who are themselves skilled in the outdoors. They also look for a supportive attitude and good teaching skills. Potential instructors may be required to participate in an orientation session. Contact Nancy Sisinyak if you are interested in being an instructor. Support the CauseThe national program is equipped and funded through a variety of cooperative efforts. If individuals, businesses or conservation groups are interested in helping the state or local programs, please contact Nancy Sisinyak or Tracy Smith with ADF&G or the BOW national office to see how you can get involved.

Shaping the Future
Why is the “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” Program important?
  • It is important to the women who attend because they learn skills that allow them to fully enjoy the outdoor environment, while building self-confidence.
  • It is important to resource management agencies because women who attend the workshops will better understand the role of fish and wildlife management and be more interested in the activities of agencies.
  • It is important to conservation organizations because women who participate in “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” become more positive about fish and wildlife based recreations and more interested in resources management and environmental protection.
  • It is important to manufacturers and retailers because women represent the fastest growing market for outdoor equipment and clothing.
  • It is important to the tourist industry because women control the majority of family decisions regarding use of leisure and vacation time.
  • It is important to the future of all of us because these women will influence the ideas and activities of the coming generations.
Learn more about “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman”

Visit the national BOW Homepage for more information.

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