“I am woman, hear me roar,” may have been the battle cry for feminists in the 70s, but it’s also an appropriate battle cry for the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program which will be offered by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources at Watoga State Park September 18 through 20.
BOW is a national program which encourages women to participate in outdoor activities and learn lifelong skills.
“We try to get the women to come out and learn outdoor activities,” organizer Billie Shearer said. “Some are hunting and fishing related. They can pass these skills on down to their children or grandchildren, or even maybe their husband.”
The weekend includes one session on Friday, two on Saturday and one on Sunday.
“They get to pick four choices for each one so if your first choice is already full then we move down to your second choice,” Shearer said. “We offer different classes like fishing, photography, dutch oven, firearms, archery, overnight backpacking, stream ecology, wild game cooking, intro to camping, forestry for women.”
The DNR brings all the supplies needed for the weekend – women are only required to bring essentials they need for a weekend away and supplies for breakfast and lunch.
“We supply all the equipment,” Shearer said. “Since we have it at Watoga with no restaurant, they have to do their own breakfast and lunch. We’ll provide a dinner for Friday night and Saturday night but we have to have it catered. They’ll be in cabins, and they can get up and fix a quick breakfast.”
The DNR holds the program at a different park each year, with Watoga being a favorite of many of the participants.
“I love Watoga myself,” Shearer said. “Most of the people still wanted to come to Watoga even if they had to bring their own covered dish because everyone loves Watoga. It’s such a great state park.”
The program is open to women 18 and older. Many times, women return year after year and bring a friend to earn their Outdoor Woman credentials.
“It’s so amazing, you get different ages – you can get from eighteen up to seventy or eighty year olds,” Shearer said. “It’s just amazing how much these women actually get out and do in these activities. We have a lot of return people because they love it so much and they’ve met new friends. It’s kind of like a friend weekend and a lot of people do bring a new person in each time, so it makes it good, also.”
Deadline for registration is September 4.
For more information or to sign up for the event, visit www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/bow.shtm
Watoga State Park is 14 miles south of Marlinton.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org