If you have been reading my articles for a while you know that BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman) is very near and dear to Jim and me. This program is done through the Wildlife Commission in your state, most all states have this and other programs available. BOW is a program to bring more women to the outdoors, shooting sports and hunting.
This year marked North Carolina’s 21st year of this program. Yes it is all grown up and legal now. We can not say enough about B.B. Gillen the programs coordinator. Her passion for this program is what makes it a huge success year after year. Out of the 21 years we have only missed teaching at two of them.
This year it was on the coast of North Carolina at the Eastern 4-H Camp in Columbia N.C. The ladies can learn how to shoot a bow, a shotgun, watch birds, do outdoor cooking, fly fishing, how to read animal tracks, and this list goes on and on. This program is for ladies 18 years old and older.
One of the wonderful things about this program is we have ladies from all walks of life. Doctors, house wives, teachers, college students, law enforcement, military women, mothers, daughters and sisters. You name a profession and I would almost guarantee that there is a lady there that does the job.
Jim and I teach beginner archery and advanced 3-D archery. We have a great time teaching the ladies the proper way to shoot and the many disciplines of the sport. We teach recurve, longbow and compound archery. Every lady that takes our class gets to shoot all three forms so they can decide which suits them better. This year the ladies were awesome. We had the beginner class shooting at almost 30 yards before class was over. There is no greater reward than having a lady who was afraid to shoot, by the end of the class, ready to buy and bow! A special thanks to our sponsors who always provide us with promotional items to give to these new lady archers. They always want to know where to purchase archery equipment and accessories so it is great to be able to put this information in their hands.
The advanced 3-D archery class was awesome! This is where the ladies bring their own equipment and we have a friendly competition. We love the fact that we have ladies that had beginner archery the year before, purchase equipment after class and bring it back the following year to compete. We have ladies in this class also that we have had for several years. We always take our 14’ hauler which is a small archery shop, well equipped with our Last Chance Archery E-Z press bow press and tools if the ladies need adjustments. The other part of this class that we love is these gals get serious! Talk about trash talking, all in good fun of course.
We have a great time teaching them new skills and shot angles as well. Jim comes up with really great scenarios for our 3-D course so if the ladies think they will come and shoot 10 yard shots all broadside they are mistaken. He sets up every shot angle you can imagine. What is the fun of just standing on flat ground….none. So we have them shoot from sitting positions, standing on one of our Big Green Targets for elevation and so much more. He is a great coach and knows the value of challenging your students. This also helps the ladies understand shot placement and how different positions affect their shots. It also lets them know quickly, if the are shooting too much poundage, which is a big problem with beginning archers. If you can’t sit on a chair and draw your bow straight back, you’re drawing too much poundage.
For many years now we have taken our Labrador Retriever and done a wildlife conservation seminar and demonstration. I’m not sure who enjoys it most, the ladies or Sky. Sky loves the attention and showing off her skills. Sky is now 2 years old and went to her first BOW program when she was 3 ½ months old. She was a ham then as well.
One of the highlights of the weekend is the silent raffle. The proceeds from the raffle go to the Mel Porter Scholarship Fund which is a fund set up for women that can not afford to come to BOW. This scholarship provides them the money to do so. Jim and I always find something wonderful at the raffle and are more than happy to contribute to this fund.
If you have the opportunity to be a participant at a BOW program or a volunteer we highly recommend it. You will make friends for a lifetime. Jim and I met Karen Mitchell in 2009 at a BOW program which was held at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain N.C. It was Karen’s first time at BOW. The following year BOW was held at Camp Cheerio in Glade Valley, NC. She was recovering from Breast Cancer and John, her husband, brought her. Due to the circumstances they allowed him to stay for the weekend. B.B. Gillen, BOW coordinator, ask us if we would like some help with our class, John had offered to help out and we were more than happy to have him. They are now some of our best friends and John helps us with our classes each year. Which proves you never know who you are going to meet at a BOW program.
This year I also shared my journey with Cushing’s Disease. The week after BOW 2017 I had surgery to remove a 9mm tumor from my pituitary gland, a lot of the ladies had remembered that. I scheduled the surgery so we would not miss BOW. I want people to know that no matter what life deals you, you can still fight and get back to what you love doing the most. The outdoors is God’s grandest Cathedral and it is my sanctuary. Cushing’s tried to take that from me. I was surprised at the number of women who came up to me over the course of the weekend and thanked me for sharing my story. I had several of the women share their stories of disease and cancer. I had several tell me I inspired them to fight even harder to get back what their disease had taken from them. They also said how lucky I was to have Jim as a coach, a friend, a supporter and of course a husband. We can’t fight these battles alone we need a group of warriors to fight with us. No battle is ever won alone. We need to learn how to hold people up and not judge, we never know what silent struggles people are going through.
This programs is a great way to show women that they can be sustainable in their lives and teach their children, families and friends how to do so as well. We are all stewards of our natural world so lets do all we can to protect it and teach as many as we can how to become the best outdoors people that they can be. If you have a BOW in your state see if you can volunteer or teach if you have a skill that would fit this very important program. Just be careful, they are addictive and you will be marking your calendar for the next years event. We are looking forward to the 2019 BOW which will be held in the mountains of North Carolina. Keep Shooting for the Future!
I can’t thank our Sponsors enough for sticking with us and their continued support!
Mathews Solocam Bows, Wildlife Research Center, Real Tree Camo, Danner Boots, Sure-Loc Sights/Ferendyne, Quality Archery Designs, Last Chance Archery, Outdoor Edge Knives, SportDOG Brand, Borg-Warner Turbo Systems, Doinker Stabilizers
For more please go to: Lynne Frady