From Grassroots to Grand Scale: Becoming an Outdoors Woman

By Lisa Metheny published on in Hunting, Outdoors

Every organization, association or club you can think of, from the smallest neighborhood gardening club to the mega-national groups with hundreds of thousands of members, have one thing in common.

Each started somewhere, probably at someone’s kitchen table, by someone who believed other people might have the same interest or mission as they did.  One of those is Becoming an Outdoors Woman, or BOW, as it is known.

Becoming an Outdoor Woman Turkey Hunting

Beginning Turkey Hunting, a BOW workshop, teaches women the basic skills needed to successfully harvest a wild turkey.

Humble Beginnings

Developed in 1991 at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Points, BOW is now in every state, several Canadian providences and even New Zealand and Bermuda. BOW continues to spread across the map each year. Designed to help women gain valuable outdoors skills, the program helps them become more competent and confident.  The goal for BOW is simple—to provide a non-threatening environment in which women can meet to learn and participate in outdoor activities.  The outdoor skills program has experienced tremendous success and now hosts more than 80 annual events throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Recipe for Success

Interest in BOW quickly spread across the country as more and more women, as well as government entities, began to notice of the much-needed program. BOW offers a great place to start for women who want to try traditional outdoor activities. Most workshops are now run by individual state Natural Resources Divisions, which helps keep many of the activities regionally focused with local experts. Because of that focus, participants often can go out after a BOW workshop is over and actually experience an activity in their areas. For example, in California, more than 6,000 women participated in BOW workshops in the last two decades. Today, West Coast women can take part in duck or archery hunts and cross-country skiing. And in New York, ladies learn how to cook wild edibles, snorkel and mountain bike, among other things. Although BOW workshops are regionally focused, they strongly encourage women to visit other BOW workshops throughout the country and abroad to learn new skills.

What makes BOW workshops so successful is women that get hands-on experience from local experts and learn the skills they need to safely enjoy a particular discipline. Most BOW courses also provide the necessary equipment and supplies to participate in such activities, providing women with the opportunity to try an activity before they buy the gear.

In part 2 of  From Grassroots to Grand Scale, we will take a closer look at the successful track record of the highly successful BOW program as well as how so many people, places and businesses have been affected by the ripple effect caused by BOW.

Have you gone through the BOW program? Do you want to try it? Tell us about it in the comments section.

SLRule

Lisa Metheny is a published award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, speaker and outdoor skills instructor. Lisa holds several instructor certifications and conducts a number of women-focused outdoor seminars on topics such as archery and hunting throughout the year. She regularly teaches hunters education and archery classes and has become an advocate for promoting traditional outdoor recreation to families across the United States. Lisa is also an avid and accomplished hunter with many big game species to her credit. She is a member of POMA and former Board of Directors member as well as a member of the NRA, RMEF, MDF and DU.

 

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Comments (4)

  • Norma

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    I have gone to the Montana BOW Since 2006. I love everything about it. As a matter of fact the Montana BOW Is August 1 -3 which I will be attending. Montana BOW will be celebrating its 20 th year. They started in 1994. My husband encourages me to go every year.

    Reply

    • OLD&GRUMPY

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      Norma–Do you have contact info for BOW? Lisa wrote a great blog but gave no web page for it. I would like to point some girls that way.

      Reply

  • larry

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    I hope, as well, this program covers all aspects of outdoor activities, even the “Art” of using the resources at hand to supply vital needs and the “Crafts necessary to use those resources to one’s best advantage.

    Reply

  • OLD&GRUMPY

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    THANK GOD ! What is good for women will benefit men.Women are a big part of the salvation of our sport and our country. I come from a Scouting family. Both girl and boy.From kids to high rank leaders.The G.S.A. program is good but tends to be more arts and crafts and social skills than “outdoors skills” Hopefully women will post on this. They don’t seem to respond much to other topics even ones aimed at them.

    Reply

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