I recently attended a women’s event and I loved it. Valley of the Sun Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever chapter put on an event called NOWW2020 or the National Outdoor Women’s Weekend. We had the opportunity to train with national shotgun reps and learn ways to improve our shotgun shooting skills. In addition, we learned techniques for training bird dogs, shed hunting dogs and different tips for cooking wild game.
The older I get the more I value the female friendships that I have. Growing up a tomboy, I had girlfriends, but it proved difficult to keep them around when the things I was interested in didn’t align with theirs. I could care less for makeup, hair, nails, clothing, clubs, sun tanning, beach bathing, or girls’ trips. I still don’t do most of those things. But I mostly couldn’t stand the topics of conversations. I mean no offense. I wanted to be a part of a literal and meaningful conversation where I could learn something instead of just blowing hot air.
While we learned these skills, I realized that I was in a room of 30 like-minded women from their mid-20s to mid-70s. They had nothing but encouragement and positive experiences to share with each other. I had never before experienced this in any room full of women let alone an entire weekend. It’s been a long time since I personally felt comfortable with this many women around me. There was no judgment. No one-upping each other. Just support.
This is the kind of environment, like the one at National Outdoor Women’s Weekend, we need to be fostering with new hunters, men, and women alike, as well as our youth. The idea is not to just introduce people to hunting and conservation, but to keep them interested and participating for years to come and then have those same people teach future generations of new hunters.
With the fear of losing hunters and anglers a topic of discussion among all conservation groups these days, it’s important now more than ever to get involved, even in the smallest of ways to show your support and encouragement for the industry. I am proud of myself for agreeing to go to the women’s event I attended with two dear friends and proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone. I feel that I’m better equipped to support and encourage others.