Kentucky DFWR Offers BOW Workshop

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The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources along with the Kentucky Network of Outdoor Women and the Kentucky 4-H Leadership Center in Jabez, Ky., will host a three-day Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Workshop Sept. 21 – 23 for women 18 and older interested in learning outdoor skills.

Pre-registration is required and is now underway through Sept. 10. The workshop fee is $180 and includes all meals and lodging for two nights, general sessions and materials and transportation to and from workshop class sites. Registration forms are available by calling toll free 1-800-858-1549 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Eastern time) on weekdays. The workshop begins with check-in at 11 a.m. (Eastern time) on Friday, Sept. 21 and concludes at noon Sunday, Sept. 23.

There will be four outdoor instructional sessions during the weekend. After hours optional sessions will also be offered. Participants may choose from a variety of classes including fly tying, fishing, basic shotgunning and rifle shooting, archery skills, deer hunting, turkey hunting, survival skills, canoeing, Dutch oven cooking and wildlife identification, among others.

Accommodations are dormitory style and participants may request to room with their friends for the weekend. Previous participants may receive a discount for bringing a first timer to this event.

"The fish and wildlife department is making a concerted effort to increase the opportunities for women to learn more about the outdoors, and get a chance to experience these activities in a setting that is both hands-on and where questions are welcomed," said Beth Spivey-Minch, Kentucky's volunteer BOW program coordinator.

Sometimes women are reluctant to try activities related to the outdoors because fishing, archery, target shooting or hunting is often thought of as male-oriented recreation. Sometimes, women simply don’t get a chance to see what these activities are about in an environment that assists them in learning how.

According to Spivey-Minch, women find recreation related to hunting, fishing, boating and wildlife watching, for example, as enjoyable as men do, once they learn more about it and have the chance to do it. BOW workshops are designed for women to "get their feet wet" with professional instruction from a teacher whose goal is to make sure participants have fun, and come away with confidence in their new skills.

"There's no better way to learn casting and basic fishing skills, firearms safety and operation and other handy tips that help us enjoy the world around us, than coming to an Outdoor Woman Workshop," said Spivey-Minch.

Sessions are geared to beginner level, and designed to give participants a good base level of knowledge so they can build on that knowledge at home or elsewhere.

"You make a lot of new friends and realize there are lots of other women out there who enjoy the same kinds of activities," Spivey-Minch said. "Our classes help reduce the anxiety, and by the end of the workshop, it's amazing how comfortable our participants become with things they never thought they'd be able to accomplish."

Participants usually want to show off their new skills when they get home. They'll be ready to be part of the next family fishing, camping or hunting outing.

"We build confidence and answer the questions you’ve wanted to ask, but might have felt awkward because of the lack of knowledge," Spviey-Minch said."This workshop also helps prepare you to pass on your knowledge to your kids, so they can have good experiences in the outdoors as well."

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