For the past few years I have the opportunity to be an instructor for the Becoming an Outdoors Women program in Florida offered through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This wonderful program offers 3 days of classes to introduce women to the outdoors, building confidence and new skills. 2 times a year I head out and meet some of the most amazing women on the planet. They come from every possible background and all ages, and all are unstoppable!
This past October was their West Palm Beach event held at the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area offering over 60,000 acres of wild Everglades, trails, hunting, wildlife viewing and more. This wild setting is a perfect place to introduce ladies to some of the true beauty Florida has to offer.
Classes that are offered include kayaking, hunting, shooting sports, photography, primitive chef, talking turkey, personal defense and more. Class sizes are small and as instructors we have the opportunity to meet and get to know many of the participants. There are so many questions during class and after, during free time. I love finding out what brought the participants out to this unique event. Many times is was friends, sisters, and moms that talked them into attending, others have been coming back year after year drawn in by the love of the outdoors and the lure of adventure.
Each class I meet one or two amazing women that I just can’t seem to forget. One year it was a 86 year old woman, I was with her when she caught her first fish – ever. She told me she always wanted to learn how to fish but never had time and now she has lots of it. I have met a mother that recently lost her son to a drive by shooting and wanted to take the “Intro to Handgun” class to find some sort of understanding/closure. You could see her struggle with her emotions and how hard it was for her to be there. But in taking the instruction and participating she learned it was not the firearm but the person who took her sons life and she experienced a healing in her soul she might not have had the opportunity to have experienced otherwise. Then there was the young single mom, literally drug there by her mom, that learned new skills and could not wait to go home and take her kids camping and kayaking now that she knew she could “do it” without the non-present father figure.
We all have mountains in our life to climb, they may not be visible to others but they are immense hurdles none-the-less. I have had more than a few in my life. I got my start in my own outdoor guide business right here at a BOW event over 5 years ago. I had always been a avid outdoor lover but had never had the courage to go it alone. Strange where our bravery comes from…it is something that is always buried inside and just needs to allow us to open the door to new discoveries. I hope you all find the bravery to climb your mountains!