They say the true measure of whether a program is successful is when you look at it three or four years later. Is it still going strong? Did it meet its goals? Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) has many measures of success; it is edging close to its 25-year anniversary, and thousands of women have participated, many returning year after year.
And it is not only those who participate in events and workshops who benefit from this fantastic program.
What prompts women from all walks of life to take part in BOW workshops? Perhaps it is the commitment and expertise level of the instructors who donate their valuable time and knowledge to teach outdoors skills.
Or perhaps it is the camaraderie the women enjoy during the weekend. Whatever the reason, thousands of women enjoy attending BOW events year after year.
Organizers and natural-resources officials originally hoped the program would provide learning opportunities for women. However, an unexpected reward began to emerge from successful BOW workshops—a whole new crop of women have taken an interest in wildlife and environmental conservation issues.
Today, many of the leading conservation groups support BOW’s efforts because they realize its programs influenced many of their past, current and future female members.
From the humble grassroots beginning to a grand scale, broad-reaching program, BOW has made a major impact on many lives. And not just the women who were students at a workshop; the effects have rippled to countless others, including organizations and businesses. There are hundreds of instructors who share their wisdom and passion for their areas of interest long after the original workshops are done.
Indiana’s fly-fishing expert Patti Beasley, is one example. Years ago, she volunteered to show BOW attendees basic fly fishing at a workshop. Her knowledge, coupled with energy and passion, had a ripple effect.
- Many of the attendees enjoyed themselves so much they joined their local fly-fishing clubs, bought fly-fishing equipment and became involved in that sport as well as trout conservation.
- Fly-fishing equipment manufacturers experienced increased sales.
- Local fly-fishing clubs benefited from increased memberships.
- Fly-fishing guides gained more business.
- Trout and water conservation groups benefited from an entire pool of women with a new-found interest in healthy water and fish conservation.
State natural-resources departments benefit from revenue generated by successful workshops as well as a whole new crop of women with an interest in outdoor activities. Businesses, such as diners, gas stations and lodging, also have increased foot traffic surrounding workshops.
Like a tiny pebble tossed in an ocean, a successful BOW workshop has an endless ripple effect that goes far beyond what happens during the weekend.
Because of the highly successful program, there are many other programs were created using the BOW workshop model as the catalyst, such as the NRA’s Women’s Wilderness Escape and NWTF Women in the Outdoors.
Nearly 25 years later, BOW is going strong and growing as it reaches new audiences each year. Judging from past performance, this highly successful program will continue for many years to come.
What BOW programs have you attended? Did they make a difference in how you look at outdoor activities and conversation? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.