Outdoor workshop takes women back to nature

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ROCK SPRINGS, Kansas– They’re taking aim, dozens of women trying a new sport.

“Align the sights, and squeeze the trigger,” said a shooting instructor to Sandy Snyder of Manhattan.

“I  hit the target!” said Snyder. “Cool!”

Snyder is one of 48 women who attended the “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” workshop at Rock Springs 4-H Center this past weekend.  They spent three days learning the basics of sports like archery, fishing and hunting.

“I don”t want the coyotes to eat my baby calves so we have to take care of the predators,” said Lucinda Stuenkel of Palmer, Kansas.  She’s learning to shoot a rifle to protect her livestock at home.

Others took the classes just for fun.

“If you take something, you get a feel for it. If you like it, you can investigate it further, learn more. If you don’t like it, you never have to do it again,” said Brenda Heller of Derby, who attended BOW for the second time.

She’s taken classes in orienteering, car maintenance, and dutch oven cooking.

Other women choose bird watching, geocaching, or woodcarving.

“Actually my husband gave this to me as a birthday present so yea, it’s pretty exciting,” said Tasha Fuchs of Ness City.

She took a crash course in catfishing so her family can go together.

“I was definitely born in a bigger city, and I married into a country life,” said Fuchs.  “His family knows definitely a lot about hunting and fishing, and I know little!”

Jami McCabe is the coordinator of BOW, but started out as a participant learning archery.

“Whether it’s kids of adults, we tend to learn better from someone who is not a parent, spouse, a sibling, so these instructors are amazing,” said McCabe.

 “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” is now in its 20th year. It brings in women from other states and even some other countries.

“I love it. I learn something new every time,” said Amanda Torbett of Derby, who’s attended BOW five times.  “I’m a teacher, and we talk to the kids about when was the last time you tried something you’ve never done before? Every time I come, I try something I’ve never done before.”

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is holding another BOW workshop in the fall with classes available for up to 100 women.

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